Is Your CPA Firm Top Heavy?

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Leverage and a well-managed pyramid are key ingredients for a profitable CPA firm.

We have been talking about it for years….. Bill Reeb calls it the Upside Down Pyramid. It’s where partners work and work until they are “full” and then they push down to managers who work and work until they are “full” and only then do they push down to staff. Meanwhile, staff are sending emails asking for assignments!

In this month’s Accounting Today, Gary Adamson has a great article once again stressing this situation. It is titled, “Flip Your Pyramid.”

Many firms have evolved to a top-heavy culture because:

  • Generational issues, including the Baby Boomer bubble, Gen Xers and Millennials.
  • Lack of a people plan with effective, consistent recruiting and staff development processes in our firms. We don’t have a process to see enough new faces and we let people hang around too long.
  • Promoting non-partner-track people or sometimes marginal folks to higher positions because “We’re preserving staff continuity” and “it’s best for the client” – - when perhaps it is just the path of least resistance, or we have no one else to fill the role.
  • Partner compensation plans that focus on chargeable time. Partners stay busy first. Managers are doing staff work and no one has incentive to push work down.
  • It’s just easier to do it myself and, besides, I’m a lot more efficient at it.

Do any of these sound like you?

Read the entire article to learn how to start flipping your pyramid.



"An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success."
Stephen Covey





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