New York (March 23, 2004) - Administrators are taking on more and bigger roles in how accounting firms are run, according to some members of the profession.

“Administrators in a general sense are becoming more influential in terms of the governance of firms,” said consultant Don Scholl, president of West Chester, Pa.-based D.B. Scholl Inc. and a member of the advisory board of the Dayton, Ohio-based Association for Accounting Administration.

“A few are becoming principals, but they’re having in general more opportunity to sit at the decision-making table. They have a whole piece of the practice they’re in charge of, and firms are beginning to recognize that some of the viewpoints and understandings that these people bring to the party are pretty important,” Scholl said.

Salaries have grown with the administrator position. At last year’s AAA Symposium, a survey of the attendees confirmed that 15 percent of the respondents are making in excess of $100,000. The AAA annual conference this June in St. Louis will cover such varied topics as marketing, technology, assessment training and partner compensation. The 20-year-old organization now has more than 600 members.

“That in itself tells you the number of firms that value the role of the firm administrator and the value they bring,” says Rita Keller, a director with Brady, Ware & Schoenfeld Inc., in Dayton, Ohio. “We’re seeing more and more administrators become directors of administration and COOs.”

Administrators are assuming more of the HR and finance workload from managing partners, freeing the latter to concentrate on clients, Keller says.

-- Jeff Stimpson

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