Agree or disagree — for a B4 tax practice, service line partners are actually more Atkin to middle management and managers are not really “management” in the traditional sense. Ie, we have don’t really have much to say on the strategic direction of our practice.

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To some extent dependent on location. I've met managers who had more strategic input at smaller locations than partners at bigger ones. You're right though Manager at big 4 is often in a team or project manager sense than strategic or operational.

Compare to industry though and the discrepancy to title is even more pronounced. at many companies a manager could function essentially as a very well compensated staff with no reports. Particularly true for more technically challenging and less volume focused practices.

Put another way, think about what the goals of a partner at an accounting firm are. You can cut down to 5: find people, keep people, find clients, keep clients, mitigate risk to the firm. A managers goals are going to have a much more personalized, narrow and less strategic focus.

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I agree with this. I’ve had more than one service line partners say that they were really middle management rather than a true partner. Think of how many partners there are in the Big4 firms. The strategic decisions are being made by the partners at the top levels and pushed down to the rest of the partnership.

As for managers, they are project managers and people managers but not managers of a company or firm.

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Agree. We are not managers in the traditional sense. We manage projects which is where the title may be coming from. Most partners are middle management given their lack of true power individually. Regardless of what our titles are, I feel that I work with some pretty bright people (not everyone of course).

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I understand what you are saying, but it’s hard to draw parallels between the two businesses. Yes, upper management (ie executive committee and board) make big strategic decisions for the firm, but the service line partners have a higher level of autonomy than traditional middle management.

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