DEFINITION OF A CPA FIRM ADMINISTRATOR
Do you have a firm administrator? Perhaps you are a firm administrator?
Sometimes the position is difficult to explain and/or describe to those practitioners who have never had a professional firm administrator. The position was validated about 27 years ago by well-known CPA management consultant, Donald B. Scholl as he founded the Association for Accounting Administration. The role has certainly evolved over the years and almost every size CPA firm could benefit from such a position.
Here are some definitions from various individuals over the years:
An accounting firm administrator is a high-level individual, at least at the manager level, who manages the internal business affairs of the firm. – - Clifford Brownstein, the Practical Accountant, 1987
Many administrators serve as the firm’s chief operating officer. They manage the firm’s cash and finances, time and billing, collections, employee benefits and policies, recruiting, professional liability insurance, computer systems, equipment purchases, office relocation and marketing. - - Linda Pappajohn, AAA President, 1996
An accounting firm administrator functions as a cheerleader, firefighter, artist, handyman, police officer, psychologist and business manager in an ever-changing, challenging environment. - - AAA Booklet, Duties and Responsibilities of Administrators, 2000
A high-level business manager (or chief administrative officer) who serves as the “right-hand” to the managing partner, to free him or her from administrative duties. - - David Maister, Author - Managing the Professional Service Firm
Whether they have the title or not, the position is the chief operating officer of a CPA firm. They are responsible for the efficient and profitable operations of the firm. The CPA profession is all about relationships; this person is the inside relationship champion and the keeper of firm culturel - - Rita Keller, Keller Advisors, LLC 2010
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She is a former shareholder and administrative partner in a successful, regional CPA firm and has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations. She works with firms across the country focusing on people, partners and internal management issues.