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How to become a Partner

Published on 5th February 2020

The role of the Partner in an accountancy firm is changing, and the rising generation of new Partners will experience a very different working life from those in the past.

The large desk and the comfortable office may remain but, thanks to email and mobile phones, the once sedate role of Partner has become a 24-hour a day role. When you’re a partner, your clients may expect to call you at any part of the working day- even if they are on the other side of the world.

It is hard work but the rewards are, if anything, even greater than they were in the past. This means that despite the growing pressures, achieving the role of Partner remains the obvious career goal for many accountants – even if not all achieve it.

A previous study led by ACCA revealed that 70% of accountants see luck as a crucial factor in making the step from being an employee to a becoming Partner - but there are ways to help your luck along, by developing the skillsets and other attributes you need.

The first step may simply be planning and developing a career plan. You need to become aware of how a Partner operates in practice and what skills are required so that you can plan a career which takes you on the path you need to ensure you pick up some of these key skills along the way.

  • Is there a sector that particularly interests you? Could you build your expertise in it and, in doing so, become a leading light not just for the practice but for the industry? 
  • Could you take on a particular challenge - a difficult client or an unpopular business area - which would help you gain exposure within the business?
  • Are you able to mentor other staff members - demonstrating your own management and people skills? 

Build your skills

Of course, you may not have all the skills you need right away. Apart from the obvious technical competencies, you will need a range of abilities that were never part of your degree. These include managing people, being able to juggle workloads, and even the ability to sell. 

You need to remember that accountancy is a business and that while the position of Partner requires problem-solving abilities and the wiliness to find solutions for clients needs, he or she will never be a backroom figure. If you are going to join them on the board, you need to be able to demonstrate the people skills and to show the ability to create an effective business strategy, and - above all - to build client relationships.

The ability to shake hands, work the room and give a good presentation may be as valuable as an intimate knowledge of the intricacies of IR35 legislation.

Those that make Partner within a firm tend to be strategic thinkers and have a good grip on the sales aspect of finance. Getting experience in this aspect of ‘selling’ is essential to make the move successfully.

Do you or your clients need funding? Find out how becoming an accountancy partner can help your clients find the funding they need to grow their business 

Build your profile

To reach the position of Partner, a strong network can be valuable. When candidates make Partner, they do so because they have something of value, and that can often include a wealth of contacts and a broad network that the firm can tap into.

To do this you need to attend sector-specific events, keep in touch with ex-colleagues and use social media sites such as LinkedIn to share and discuss ideas. You need clients to know that you are an expert in your field, so writing articles for publications on your area of expertise will help you build your credentials. Work out where your future work might come from.

Thinking like a partner - someone who is responsible for the business, and not just for managing clients affairs - is the vital next step to becoming a partner.

Find the funding

If you can demonstrate the skills and personal qualities that make you an asset to the practice - one that the existing owner could not afford to be without - your name will come up when taking on a new partner is being considered.

Being invited to become Partner is a major step in your career – but you may need finance to be able to take it.

It is possible to make Partner on your merit alone, but if an existing Partner is retiring and you are invited to take their place, you will almost certainly be called on to buy your way in. £10,000 funding to become a partner is not uncommon – but there are financial solutions which can help provide this kind of investment in your future.

In most cases when a successful business is offering a partnership, the scale of funding required may make some form of Secured Loan necessary. It may also be possible to arrange a Practice Loan - effectively a form of advance secured on the future performance of the business. Finding the most appropriate finance plan for your needs may require expert advice. 

How Rangewell can help

At Rangewell, we are experts in business finance, and we help all types of business - including accountancy professional - access all types of funding.

Not only do we know all the different types of business funding available, we know the lenders who can offer the most competitive rates. We can even help you streamline the application process when your need for cash is urgent.

Loans, Asset Finance, Commercial Mortgages or any other kind of finance - we find the most appropriate solutions while our network of contacts and our unique online tool let us find the most cost-effective rates.

Our expertise includes understanding the need of those who need financial backing to become Partner in a practice.

We can help you spread the cost of buying into the practice – and making the key step forward in his career. Plus our services are always free to use for accountants - and their clients. 

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Richard Mitchell

Richard Mitchell

Content writer
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