Koltin Consulting Group CEO Allan Koltin described the best practices of high-performing accounting firms and partners during a keynote speech at Accounting Today’s Growth & Profitability Summit on Tuesday.

“The best firms create a playbook of how they’re going to operate,” said Koltin. He noted that highly accountable firms make the most profit. “They don’t have a lot of leaky buckets,” he pointed out. Client service is important to high-performing firms, he added.

Koltin, who helps arrange mergers among many of the top firms, predicted that firms would keep getting larger, with revenues doubling in the next five years for firms now in the $100 million range. He believes that Birmingham-based Warren Averett will be the next firm to join the ranks of $100 million firms.

Koltin also sees a more competitive landscape for firms. “Clients continue to believe that everything is negotiable,” he said.

He believes firms also need to become more diverse to reflect the changing demographics of accounting students graduating from college.

“Firms need to be talent scouts,” he said. “If you want the stars, you the partners need to go out and get them.”