Typically, there are two types of accounting firm partners: equity partners and salaried partners. Equity partners are the highest-level individuals in the business, as they have usually put forth some of their own money to support the business. Salaried partners are those who have not invested directly in the business financially, but who are eligible for profit-sharing. Depending on the firm, a prospective partner may be asked to buy in before joining.
Each firm has its own track to partnership, but most often, individuals need to work for the company for a number of years; they move up in the ranks as a lower-level manager before being considered. When deciding on whether candidates are right for partnership, a firm's leaders most often look for workers who have excellent client relationships, are team players, and have demonstrated leadership and business acumen. Financial performance, including retaining and signing new business, is also considered.
Partners are almost always required to certified public accountants (CPAs), which requires at least two years of audit or accounting experience before taking the CPA exam in most states. At least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field is needed as well.
Partners typically work out of a corporate office. They may be expected to work at clients' sites, although this work is usually delegated to lower-level employees. Work hours are typically regular business hours during the off season, but during the busy season — usually January through April — accountants work overtime preparing documents for taxes, the close of the fiscal year, and the start of the new fiscal year.
Partner - Accounting Firm Tasks
Manage the accounting firm’s staff, select managers, and evaluate manager’s performances.
Oversee the operation of regional offices, coordinate their activities, and monitor their performance.
Establish the firm’s policies and procedures, and make sure these practices are carried out in all of the firm’s offices.
Act as the highest executive of the accounting firm to direct and determine the final decision on all its projects and activities.
Responsible for the financial well-being of the firm and ensure that the offices bring in a profit.