Managing Partner Elections? Why Not!

Michael PlattAs I was sitting watching a news story the other day about the presidential election, my mind wandered a bit and I began thinking:  What would the world of public accounting look like if partners in CPA firms had to campaign for their position and be re-elected every four years?

I know, I know – it is heresy to suggest. A partnership is not a democracy, and you’ve all worked hard to get where you are, and the thought of having to re-earn the position is ludicrous. Or is it?

Running on their record, being accountable to their constituents, maintaining a vision for the future, inspiring others to follow them – these are the traits of a successful candidate for president, and they are the same traits for a successful candidate for partner.

A system that requires re-election to partnership would ensure accountability and keep the best people in the partner positions in the firm at all times. It would provide greater opportunity for younger staff, and would ensure that partners continue reaching ever-higher to maintain their position of authority and status in the firm.

Alas, this idea is likely to be as fleeting as a town hall meeting and as probable as a Ron Paul presidency. But while it may not be something that partners would be able to easily digest, I offer this idea at least as food for thought as you look toward creating the successful firm of the future.