I recently returned from attending the Winning Is Everything Conference  and to my surprise, I actually personally experienced the theme of the conference.

So how did I come out a winner from this conference presented by a coalition of consultants who specialize in advising CPA firms? First, I was surrounded by partners from the most successful accounting firms across the country. Moreover, it was just the type of conference I love--where both the speakers and attendees are CPAs who are not afraid of change and are willing to share their experiences, successes, and concerns.

In that regard, I discovered the firms that have started using a firm advisory board are very happy with it. Normally, these boards are comprised of clients, referral partners, and even business associates. They serve as a sounding board for new ideas, a barometer of how prospects and clients might react, and needed outside third-parties' viewpoints.

An interesting idea presented was the use of a closed compensation system for partners. Under this system, a partner's income is not made public to all the partners of the firm. The idea is to design a system in which partners are paid primarily for performance instead of longevity, and which reduce the whining and discontent of dissatisfied partners. There were indications by a good number of firm members that some of their partners would be not comfortable in converting to such a system.

By the way, did I mention the conference was in Las Vegas? As I was working my way back to the conference center, I stopped at a nickel slot machine. On a 45 cents investment, I got a return of 22,500 nickels. Winning may not be everything, but it sure is fun.

p.s.: Next year's meeting (www.winning-is-everything.com) will be in Vegas again. I will bet you (no nickels please) that I'll be there.

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