What does it take to rise to the position of partner in an accounting firm?While the criteria vary from firm to firm, I believe it is an interesting and generally difficult question for firms to answer. I have asked existing partners to list what they require in a new partner, and they tend to come up with a list of skills and criteria for which many of them probably would not qualify. Most managing partners readily admit that too many people were made partner for the wrong reasons over the past 20 years. The most common answer is, "We were afraid he or she would leave."

Is this a good reason to make someone a partner? I believe it is not a valid reason, and many firms are now paying the price in their inability to attract and retain quality people.

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