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Is Business Development Solely the Responsibility of CPA Firm Partners?

No – according to a recent survey conducted by CPA Trendlines, an online information service for CPAs. One-half of respondent firms were not satisfied with the participation in lead generating activities at their firm. The lack of overall participation appears to be a shared responsibility of partners and staff.


  1. Staff professionals are not asked to participate in business development because they are not trained to do so. Without adequate training, “misrepresentation risk” could harm the firm’s image.

  2. Firm partners do not have the time to train/mentor staff to develop business. Staff training is superseded by the need to develop business during non-billable time.

  3. The firm does not have an overall business development plan

  4. The firm does not have an overall business development plan


  1. Professional staff members do not take “ownership” of their book of business. “Ownership” refers to managing and cultivating existing client and other relationships to grow that book of business. They do not see it as their responsibility to do so.

  2. Professional staff members do not take the initiative to acquire skills to help in business development such as public speaking, writing articles, or networking.

  3. Professional staff members do not ask partners for training or mentorship to develop the skills required to be invited in as a firm partner.

Firm partners need to recognize it is their responsibility to develop professional staff to become future owners. Staff development training should include leadership and management training in addition to business development. If this training can’t be performed internally, it should be outsourced, not ignored. Failure to do so limits the options of firm business succession.

Published with permission from Bill Tsotsos, BD Consultants. Click Here to contact Bill Tsotsos.

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