Professionals to Management: ‘Don’t Try to Be Our
- The advice in the title of this article was the highlight of the
Rosenberg Associates Second Annual Staff Forum, in November 2006.
We convened a group of young professionals (nine men and six women)
in the accounting profession, each from a different Chicago-area
firm. The purpose was to find out what they think about their jobs,
partners, future in the accounting profession, compensation, and
how building a career fits in a work/life balance.
in their 40s and up, particularly partners over 50, seem to be
having an especially difficult time understanding today’s
young people. They ask: “What’s the best way to interact
with them, to treat them?”
We put that
question to the focus group and their comments were: “[Partners]
seem to think that the best way to get to know us is to try and
be our friends. Well, we don’t want them to be our friends.
We want them to be a great boss to us, someone who trains us,
mentors us, helps us grow professionally, and is a good role model
is very, very important to these young professionals.
balance is very important. When we drilled down on this topic,
we found they didn’t have problems with the total hours
commitment. “As long as I get my work done, what does
it matter when, where, and how?”
though they find tax season draining, the group said they can
live with it. It’s part of the job. (A group of young
professionals surveyed last year found it oppressive.)
under half of the group wanted to become partner. If a partnership
wasn’t possible, then they’d move on.
- The group
thought that their partners work all the time, approaching 3,000
hours a year. (The actual number of hours is
closer to 2,400.)
are willing to market; it doesn’t scare them.
who compete for staff and have conflicting ideas about how work
gets done continue to be a source of irritation to staff.
don’t see much of a future at firms that don’t have
female partner role models.
thought partners earned roughly $241,000. (The Chicago norm
is actually $300,000.) They thought $300,000 was “a lot,”
and worth some sacrifice.
line is this: Accounting firms that want to retain young professionals
must cultivate them. That means: “Pay us well, invest in
our professional development, outline a career track for us, and
support us during our family formation years.”
Rosenberg, CPA, is president of the Rosenberg Associates,
a management consulting firm serving the CPA profession. He works
with firms on partner compensation, retirement and succession planning,
mergers, retreats, strategic planning, and practice management review.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article is adapted from the firm’s newsletter, The Management
Catalyst. Used with permission.
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