Partner Compensation Methods and Trends Presented By: Gary Adamson, CPA

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Partner Compensation Methods and Trends Presented By: Gary Adamson, CPA Slide 2 Recovering Managing Partner Over 20 Years as a MP of a Top 200 Firm Grew firm from 9 to over 120 people Now working with firms to reach solutions, faster Consultant, author and speaker Slide 3 Firm Governance Partner Compensation Partner Retirement and Agreements Partner Succession Partner Retreats Mergers and Acquisitions Partner Coaching and Goal Setting Slide 4 Follow our blog at Sign up for our newsletter at Contact us at Call us at 765-488-0691 Slide 5 Credits: The Rosenberg MAP Survey Inside Public Accounting Slide 6 Talk to me Polling questions from time to time I will ask you some questions as we work through the material Pepto Bismol slides Slide 7 Return on capital Finder Minder Grinder Leadership/management Intangibles (#) Slide 8 Probably started out all even or, Based on ownership Then when things started changing or there were new partners Maybe we all decide together or, We try the slip of paper approach When that becomes less satisfying, we move to a formula And finally we end up with a compensation committee (#) Slide 9 Judgment is always a critical part of the process. You are working with tangibles and intangibles. No two partners are alike. (#) Slide 10 Equal Ownership percentage Slip of paper All partners meet to decide Formulas MP decision Compensation committee (#) Slide 11 Best for really small firms or just starting out Appears to make it easy Can work with really high performers Is performance really equal? Reality (#) Slide 12 Annual Fees High To Average Ratio Average Income / Partner Ptrs./ Total Empl. # Firms > $20 million1.6$473,00018/18127 $10-20 million1.5$418,00011/8464 $2-10 million1.3$333,0005/34246 < $2 million1.1$214,0003/1142 From 2011 Rosenberg MAP Survey Slide 13 Besides some rate of return on your invested capital what does your ownership percentage have to do with your contribution to the firm and what you should be compensated? Best for ______________ Rarely has anything to do with performance (#) Slide 14 How it works Works for medium sized firms who dont like formulas and arent ready to trust a committee Everyone gets a vote Will work in the three to eight or so partner range Tends to produce a narrow range (#) Slide 15 Works for small firms no more than five partners Each partner presents his/her case All partners have the statistics Lock the door and arm wrestle the result (#) Slide 16 Committee of one Fairly common and fairly effective Works well for a firm with a highly credible and or dominating MP (more than likely the founder) The MP should know better than anyone the relative contribution of each partner (#) Slide 17 Most commonly used (especially in smaller firms) Eat what you kill theme Accountants love it Find it where you have a low level of trust Profit center approach Cumulative points Many problems Several examples (#) Slide 18 3 to 5 person group makes the allocation Popular for 8 or more partners MP plays a major role Dominant in larger firms Focused on performance / contribution Rewards intangibles (#) Slide 19 What compensation system are you using in your firm? A. Formula B. Compensation committee C. All partners meet to decide D. MP decision E. Other (#) Slide 20 2 Ptrs 3-4 Ptrs 5-7 Ptrs 8-12 Ptrs 13+ Ptrs 2010 Total 2009 Total Comp Committee 5%13%24%49%67%29%32% Formula27%38%32%33%11%31% Paper & Pencil2%4%6%1%2%3% Ownership Pct5%3%7%0%9%5%4% MP Decides8%11% 8%11%10%11% Pay Equal33%6%4%5%0%7% All Decide20%25%16%4%0%15%12% Open90%83%81%76%46%77%75% Closed10%17%19%24%54%23%25% From 2011 Rosenberg MAP Survey Slide 21 5-7 Partners8-12 Partners13+ Partners 201020072005201020072005201020072005 Comp Committee 24%21%19%49%45%39%67%72%58% Formula 32%40%47%33% 39%11%19%38% All other systems 44%39%34%18%22% 9%4% From 2011 Rosenberg MAP Survey Slide 22 Direct linkage with firm goals partner goals compensation Movement from formulas to committees Movement from tangibles to intangibles (even with formulas) MP is key to the process Performance based Focus on strengths not fixing things Not all at risk base vs. bonus (#) Slide 23 New business generation gets a premium Heavy dose of judgment Larger firms closing the process More what does the firm need you to do Less about book of business and chargeable hours (#) Slide 24 24 Annual Charge Hours per Partner Source: Inside Public Accounting, October 2011 Slide 25 Promotes empire building and silos Difficult to move work Tends to promote everyone being the same How is leadership/management valued? How do you reward sales efforts and especially team sales? How do you decide what is measured and how weights are assigned? Intangibles? Good of the firm activities (#) Slide 26 Three methods out there that work fairly well Finder / Minder / Grinder 20/50 Formula + Intangibles vote All need to include recognition for return on capital, payment for management and the intangibles (#) Slide 27 The formula rewards: Finder the sale Minder who has the relationship and runs the engagement Grinder doing the work (chargeable time) How do you weight it? Still carve out management, capital and intangibles (#) Slide 28 20% of each partners book of business 50% personal production realized Have to adjust to your firm Still carve out management, capital and intangibles first (#) Slide 29 Formula takes into account: Interest on capital The typical production metrics Payment for management Plus a ballot or vote for intangibles Perhaps a bucket for special reward and or managements discretion (#) Slide 30 Larger firms have evolved through formulas and other methods Want the MP to have a major impact But, recognize that the MP may not want the job solo and partners may not want that either (#) Slide 31 Communication/understanding of the process is critical Linkage of firm goals to partner goals to compensation must be clear The MP is the quarterback for the process and the liaison with the partners Partners must know how they contribute and what behavior and results will be rewarded Partners must respect and trust committee members (#) Slide 32 We have a partner goal setting process and use it in our compensation plan. Yes No (#) Slide 33 Three to five members Typically voted in, staggered terms Sometimes the Executive Comm. or Board MP permanent member Responsible for year end bonus and next years salary/draw Meets once a year MP prepares the package for each partner for consideration by the committee Communication of results is critical (#) Slide 34 Achievement of goals New business development Charge hours - not heavily weighted Book of business $ not heavily weighted Profitability of book Working capital utilization Staff utilization Staff mentoring and development Firm leadership activities Good of the firm activities (#) Slide 35 Teamwork Movement of clients to other partners Client service/satisfaction Upward evaluations Partner cross evaluations Non-binding slip of paper Extenuating circumstances MP discretionary pot? Weighting of criteria? Partners nearing retirement (#) Slide 36 The hard part: so, how does the committee reach its decision? CC reviews all data and ranks performance CC does a slip of paper exercise and, then tweaks MP takes the first shot and CC tweaks (#) Slide 37 Real life example Is the comp committee decision final? (#) Slide 38 Leading worth more than your billing rate Managing worth your billing rate Administration worth less than your rate Too many firms pay their partners to do what a firm administrator should be doing. If your MP is doing the right things, the position will be the highest paid partner in the firm. (#) Slide 39 Should making rain produce the biggest rewards? Is total comp at risk or only the year end bonus pool? Open vs. closed system Charge hours and book of business Recognition of intangibles the soft stuff is critical but difficult for a lot of us (CPAs) (#) Slide 40 Partner Compensation Checklist -%20ptr%20comp.pdf Partner Goal Setting l%20setting%20article1.pdf (#) Slide 41 Slide 42 Follow our blog at Sign up for our newsletter at Contact us at Call us at 765-488-0691 (#)