What advice would you give to partners/MP’s to help them coach younger staff?
If the person is deemed high potential, then let them know it and purposefully invest in them, giving them more exposure. Example – take them to managing partner conferences, ask them to lead a special interest group at their association, encourage them to develop their communication skills through groups like Toastmasters or a communications coach, encourage them to develop their leadership skills at outside organizations.
What do you think is the biggest blind spot in firms today, and how do they rectify this?
Continuing to hire only CPAs rather than college hires and experienced consultants who have skill sets needed for audit and tax of the future. Everyone has gotten the memo that our world is changing dramatically, but I don’t see enough action yet following the talk. This shift in resources is requiring our leaders to get out of their comfort zone and go exploring. There are parallel universes that we’ve barely touched, such as consultants who are experts in industry-specific data analytics, and college degree programs which focus on data sciences and cutting edge technologies.
In addition, our auditors and tax people have always thought of their career in a certain somewhat predictable trajectory. However, it would be unfortunate to go hire people with the skills we need, and leave our current talent behind. One practical initiative is to expose our up and comers to the future as we see it, and give them an opportunity to rethink their career path. For example, it’s clear tax and wealth management are coming together, creating a broader service suite in the market. Are certain tax people prepared to reconsider where they have been headed? Are there auditors in your firm prepared to pivot into operational data analytics?
What has surprised you most in the client interactions / questions / engagements you’ve had this past year?
Nothing comes to mind. Each client has their own set of issues and opportunities. Although there are common themes, each situation has nuances, keeping problem-solving fresh and exciting with each assignment.