There are dramatic differences between the way large and smaller CPA firms handle various areas of practice management, such as management and leadership; recruiting, development and retention of staff; training; diversity of services; specialization; and partner accountability.For now, let’s define “large” firms as Top 100 firms; No. 100 had annual fees of $29 million in 2007. Meanwhile, the “smaller” firms are those below the Top 100 threshold.

Though it’s tempting to generalize and say that large firms are strong at the above areas, whereas smaller firms are weak at them, there is absolutely no question that the vast majority of smaller accounting firms struggle mightily with these attributes. Therein lies the root of the differences in compensation systems between large and smaller firms.

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