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Partnership model losing steam with new accountants


Becoming a partner of a firm was once the ultimate goal for many accountants, but times are changing and newer accountants in particular are increasingly considering alternatives to the traditional hierarchical model. 

By Lara Bullock2 minute read

Co-founder of The Outperformer, Brad Eisenhuth, told Accountants Daily that the path to partnership is no longer as simple as it once was.


“If you look at the big four, less that 1 per cent of every intake is able to reach partner position,” Mr Eisenhuth said.

“So when you consider an intake of graduates, quite factually they know that within the audit stream, for example, they may not be able to get to the top role.”

Mr Eisenhuth said that accountants wanting to move up the ranks at a firm now have to think more laterally about the decisions they make to get there.

“The firm can still be a fantastic place to build a career, but it may not be in the original path,” he said.

“I think what some of these accountants can start to consider are ways to help the firm continue to evolve in different service lines as opposed to seeing a one track path within their current position.”

Furthermore, Mr Eisenhuth said that with the enormous amount of change and disruption facing the accounting industry, more career options are being created.

He’s seeing more and more accountants gaining a broad range of experiences within a firm and using that to launch themselves in to a commercial organisation.

“The good thing about a commercial organisation is that the world is your oyster,” Mr Eisenhuth said.

“If you're proactive, if you're prepared to stretch, if you build a fantastic foundation with that company, you can find yourself moving in to many, many different areas of the organisation that you may not have considered when you first became an accountant.”

These alternatives include roles such as CFO, head of operations, head of business development and even sales, according to Mr Eisenhuth.

“There are so many different paths that can be taken, and obviously, the way you manage your career and the way you build your reputation within a company will allow you to do that,” he said.

“If you demonstrate a desire, a willingness to understand, a curious nature, then you'll be able to pursue different paths using your financial acumen.”

Another alternative career path that’s emerged more recently is the path of virtual CFO, consultancy, and entrepreneurial endeavours.

“The great thing for accountants these days is that they don't feel limited to one particular career path,” Mr Eisenhuth said.

Partnership model losing steam with new accountants
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