The typical pyramid structure of accounting firms is increasingly coming under pressure as the 3 mega-trends of technology, generations, and globalization converge to create a perfect storm. These trends work to create the trends we call the "shift change" affecting five key areas: 1) Leadership; 2) Learning; 3) Technology; 4) Generations; and 5) Workplace.
Partners are making more money than ever primarily by working many more hours (the curse of the billable hour) and doing more manager level work.
This is manifesting in CPA firms as "compression of the pyramid as work is being pushed up to the partner level as their middle management bench strength is overwhelmed by three things: 1) physical shortage of manager level people (demographics); 2) Generational conflicts by the two generation above and below them - baby Boomers and Millennials; and 3) lack of systematic talent development in "success" skills.
This compression will only get more acute as the retiring baby boomers retire with the physical number of Gen Xers only one-half of the replacements needed. That assumes no growth.
Five ways to rebuild and restore your pyramid:
1) Rank and prioritize your pyramid;
2) Develop a strategic and systematic approach to your talent development;
3) Build and communicate a career path and plan (yes, even to partner);
4) Invest in and fast track high potentials (especially at the manager level);
5) Create partner accountability including responsibility for mentoring and staff development.
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