Accounting firms are like orchestras, industry consultant Adelaide Ness told a gathering of CPA firms -- and just like orchestras, each section of a firm needs to do its part to create harmony.

Speaking at The Rainmaker Companies’ 21st Annual Super Conference, being held this week in New Orleans, Rainmaker executive vice president Ness used her appreciation of classical music and fine art to help recognize leaders in accounting firms. Just like an orchestra, Ness sectioned off each division in a firm to create a perfect balance of harmony.

In the string section, the violins represent the firm administrators, according to Ness, and the violas are the administrative staff. She placed the tax and audit staff in the cello and bass section.

As she turned to the woodwind section, she emphasized "the most admired instrument" as the flute, and in any accounting firm, she said, the marketing director holds that coveted spot. The marketing team, which is responsible for getting the word out, are the bassoons. The percussion section not only keeps everyone on beat but Ness noted that, "The percussion makes you who you are."

Ness completed the musical orchestra of an accounting firm with specialists, who she placed in the brass section, and finally she pointed out your clients and customers, "the life blood of your organization," as the orchestra’s vocalists.

Once the accounting orchestra was complete, Ness posed the following question to the room full accountants from 35 U.S.-based firms and several international firms: "What are you doing to make sure that your orchestra stays afloat?" She stressed the importance of running a firm with intention, and learning from one another: "There are brilliant minds here ... go seek them out."

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