Do you think smaller public accounting firms would pay someone with manager/director big 4 experience to come in as an outside coach/consultant to coach and mentor their seniors and associates? Maybe if the pay structure was conditional to only if the consultant could improve retention rates or some other metric? Thanks!

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Why would they hire someone from the outside when they have in-house people to mentor for free?

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From my experience, in house coaching is really what you put into it. If you only talk on occasion and don’t have deep conversations then your coach doesn’t feel the need to give much back. However if the person takes the time to chat and get to know their coach through mentoring and voicing what they want, they’ll get that strong mentorship. I think it’s on the (for lack of better word) “lower” people to find mentors above them and develop those relationships. I actually started at a midsize firm and never had that issue. I don’t think there is a lack of mentors at midsize firms at all, I actually think it’s a benefit in PA. I could see it as an option for private accountants though - have you considered that as an option?
What the firms have to lose is their people, and also the effort involved in coordinating. You could steer them out of their existing job, and there could even be conflict of interest if you’re getting referral fees from your firm. Also someone internally would have to put time and effort into marketing this internally or whatnot. I feel like I could only see this if you had a variety in experience in both public/private and can have varying - rather than competing - perspectives.

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Bc B4 is so superior, obvi

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Okay could be manager/director from any public firm

Why would a smaller firm hire a coach from the big 4? If big 4 can’t fix their own issues, why would they be able to fix another firms issues

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But why would anyone believe that the big 4 person could actually make any difference? Not to mention most small firms don’t want the big 4 culture. What exactly would you plan on telling them?

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I feel like no firm would ever do this bc that would be admitting that they don’t have sufficient development/mentoring, and another firm has better development/mentoring. People are too proud. Why would I want to stay at my current firm if they are openly admitting that

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That’s a pretty shallow thought. I think most businesses are looking at ways to improve their business and most partners recognize training investment in training initiatives. No one is that naive to overlook training their employees

I think managers with no inclination of wanting to be a partner but also want to escape 50+ hour weeks could form a consulting group that travels to small firms during the busy season and works only 45 hours a week as an additional staff/reviewer/manager/trainer/consultant for 3-4 weeks. Drop some knowledge, improve the small firm, do some of the work, improve the staff quality, lessen the partner/manager burden, etc. Any major metro has a dozen small firms that would hire a temporary person as a contractor/consultant. Sign the NDA and should be good to go.

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I appreciate everyone sharing their insights and perspective! Lots of interesting things to think about

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I am sure. RSM has a full time learning and development team full of former auditors that do this type of work. Maybe be worth looking at top 50 firms for this.

I was just talking about this last week. I think it is a viable business model as a consultant/temp employee. Work for a month showing review techniques, showing new concepts to staff, and generally increasing the knowledge base at a small firm. Make 1.5x salary for a month and go to the next firm and repeat the process.

This sounds like something that peer review consultants do for firms that provide attest services. Unfortunately the peer review business and process has become heinously onerous in the past few years. There's definitely less barriers and regulations on the tax side, and more technical complexity, which is probably why quality can vary.

I find it absurd that so many B4 persons are trashing the idea. I’ve worked in 3 small firms and each one was lacking in something. Some small firms don’t know what they don’t know, or have been doing something wrong forever. Bringing in experienced staff from outside firms has the ability to showcase some of the deficiencies, bring them to light, and correct them going forward. I’ve seen numerous K-1s that are not prepared correctly or lack notes, witnessed 3 different methods for 13W expenses on a 1040, and just a slew of small things that small firms don’t get right. Any partner would be foolish not to bring in an experienced manager as a temp consultant contractor during busy season. Can you imagine adding a talented person for 4 weeks during your busiest time of the year? The over worked manager(s) would be elated. One that will help train your staff, give you new perspective, be a resource for not only staff and manager but also partners? A person that will not be trying to make partner ahead of you.

I don’t think this is about technical skills so much as it is mentoring people.

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