In our  ‘fast track to partner‘ audio masterclass series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Toni Hunter, George Hay, and Myfanwy Neville, Berg Kaprow Lewis LLP, two young partners who have successfully made the step up from director to partner in their accountancy practices. This was a frank and honest interview, stuffed full with pearls of wisdom, which you will be able to use to inspire you to go for partnership. However, I wanted to pick up on just one of the tips given in this interview:

If you want to make partner, put your head above the parapet

So, what does this mean in reality? In our conversation, Myf and Toni, both agreed that the 1st step to becoming a partner, was committing to it, and believing in yourself first and foremost.

Toni: It’s about setting bigger goals, about having the confidence and seeking the opportunity yourself. You have to take responsibility for your own career path. If you sit and wait for other people to do it for you, then other more confident people will just take that role and you’ll be left there.

After you have decided you are going to go for partner, then Myf and Toni, advised, the next step is actually telling the partnership that you want to go for partner.

Toni:  If it’s something that you aspire to do then find a way, make sure that you communicate the fact that  you want to do something, you want to build your career and people will listen and help you. Myf:  I think what it was for me was someone to take the blinkers off and say “Do you know it’s a possibility? Why don’t you go for it?” and just going “Do you know what? Hell yeah, let’s do it” and everything changed from then, it was amazing.

Once you have committed to yourself and others that you want to go for partnership, it’s time to put your head above the parapet. However, Toni and Myf both advised that it’s not about striving to become the firm’s superstar, but doing it in little, but personal ways. For example:

Toni:  The underlying key is that you have to put your head above the parapet, you have to say “I’m here, I’m worthy of being noticed” and how you do that is very personal to you and what your skills are. For me it was to provide a younger, fresher approach to the practice by building a portfolio from scratch. Myf:  The sooner you start taking that responsibility upon yourself the better. I also made it my business to make sure that every part of the audit file I was working on I did myself, so that the very last thing the partner had to do, who was signing off my audit, was just tick a box. So I knew that actually I could take it from start to finish if I needed to and then the partners also saw was “Well, do you know what? Myf can do all of it from start to finish, so why don’t we let her be an RI? Toni:  It’s that peer group that makes a difference and when I say put your head above the parapet, it’s little things like when you’re in a training meeting be the one to ask the question; be the one to query why you do things a certain way. Use your peer group to show that you have leadership skills and that you are thinking, in both a technical and business development manner. It’s all those little things that just segregate you from the average.

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