PracticeAccounting FirmsThe Practitioner: senior partners can be a senior headache

The Practitioner: senior partners can be a senior headache

Having older partners is never easy. The Practitioner looks at the hard bits and considers the benefits

HAVING older partners in the firm is never easy but there are lots of benefits that are sometimes forgotten, namely: a wealth of experience to draw on; a shoulder to cry on when the shit hits the fan; an established contact list to plunder.

There are, however, several drawbacks and the older they become the longer the list of drawbacks seems to grow. Here are a few examples:

  • They care less about doing actual work and more about their next holiday
  • Getting them to agree to any long-term investment is difficult, if not impossible
  • Trying to stop them upsetting clients is equally onerous

I think I have come up a plan to counteract this difficult situation. I’m happy to share it with you for a small fee: work out what makes him or her (the senior partner) happy; give him or her a task that will keep them happy and busy; keep them away from client contact as much as possible; keep them away from staff as much as possible; let them think everything is their idea.

The point above about stopping them upsetting clients is crucial in order for a happy relationship with any senior partner; let them think that everything is their idea then work on a plan to secure their exit from day-to-day involvement in the business as smoothly as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, senior partners have had a great role to play in building up our businesses to what they are today. All I’m saying is that they need to now realise that tomorrow is another day with new challenges and it is time to step aside for the younger generation.

Personally, I am fortunate that one of the three senior partners in my practice is acutely aware that his time is coming to an end and he is doing everything he can to ensure a smooth transition of his clients, experience, and contacts to me

The other two senior partners however are not quite as self-aware. Does anyone have any ideas?

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from the coalface of a regional firm in the heart of England

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