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Upstream Leader Podcast

The Upstream Leader Podcast is your go-to source for insights and education on becoming a high-yield, low-maintenance leader in the accounting industry. Join hosts Jeremy Clopton and Heath Alloway for interviews with leading experts as they share their knowledge, best practices, processes, technology and more.


Strong Leadership Through Mergers & Acquisitions

Featuring Bruce Zicari

Hosted by Heath Alloway

Unlocking Authentic Leadership

Featuring Carla McCall

Hosted by Jeremy Clopton

AI, Tech and Leadership: Navigating the Minefield

Featuring Danielle Supkis Cheek

Hosted by Jeremy Clopton

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Read articles of interest published by Upstream Academy.

Admitting Income Partners
Strong growth, retention challenges, and the changing face of accounting firm hires have led to increased discussion around the potential role of income partners in a firm. Let’s candidly discuss the benefits, potential pitfalls, and best practices when adding income partners to your firm’s structure.
Getting the Most Out of Partner Retreats

Each year, managing partners and executive committees spend considerable time scheduling and planning the firm’s annual partner retreat. Most firm leaders see this event as an important tool to connect partners and address important issues, but few partners get excited about the prospect of spending two days in meetings where they do what they’ve always done before with the hope of getting different results than in the past.  Let’s talk about a better way. 

M & A 1: Preparing Your Firm for a Merger: The First (and Most Important!) Step

We’re living in a time when unprecedented numbers of firms are considering mergers and acquisitions. Many are pursuing this strategy as a way to grow the top line and enhance the resources of their organization. If you’re considering a merger or series of mergers as part of your strategic plan, you also need to make it part of your plan to be well prepared for what’s ahead.  Let’s discuss how to prepare.

M&A 2: Identifying Merger/Acquisition Candidates: All Firms Are Not Created Equal

If you’re serious about your strategy, recruiting can’t be approached as an event. You must accept that recruiting other firms is an ongoing process and that you’re not going to become great at it without incurring a few battle scars along the way. Firms that see recruiting as a process and become highly effective in that process will save themselves untold angst as transactions take place.

M & A 3: Overcoming Stakeholder Challenges in Mergers & Acquisitions

In this article, we’ll look at some of the issues that typically arise in the merger process, and help you determine what your responses will be before you’re faced with these challenges.

Partner Goal Setting: It Doesn’t Have to Be Meaningless

Over the years, I have been both haunted and motivated by a chapter in David Maister’s book True Professionalism. Entitled “Dynamos, Cruisers, and Losers,” the chapter describes three levels of performance in professional service firms. The “Dynamos” and “Losers” fall right where you would expect—no surprises there. The definition of a “Cruiser” though, is very troubling because I believe it describes a significant number of partners in CPA/CA firms across North America.

Thoughts on Firm Goverance

As we work with CPA firms around the country, it’s clear that managing partner performance and keeping everyone headed in a unified direction has become an increasingly difficult task. During the exceptionally good times of the late 1980s until 2007, firms seemed able to succeed in spite of themselves. Work appeared to be limitless and firm profits and partner income were at all‐time highs. The biggest struggle was hiring and keeping sufficiently staffed to handle the work demand.

Transitioning Managing Partners

Firm growth over the past 20 years has been amazing, creating a number of substantial, closely‐held businesses requiring strong leadership and direction. As firms have grown, the role of managing partner has become increasingly important to the success and continuity of the firm. With many more managing partners reaching retirement age over the next decade, we’ll certainly see a commensurate increase in firm leadership transitions.


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