Case 6.6 Essay

Charles Tollison, Audit Manager

1. I strongly believe that Charles Tollison is qualified for a partnership position as he puts in long hours worked year-round and solves the most difficult accounting/auditing issues. He is considered the “technician” of the company because of his abilities of micromanaging his jobs and being involved in every aspect of them. It shows that he cares for the company; but he needs to invest more time in getting more clients, contracts for the organization, rather than spending all of his time solving accounting/audit issues. These are matters that someone else can handle in order for him to qualify as a partner.

2. I strongly believe that the firm did not treat him fairly. They know very well that he is a hard worker that devotes most of his time with the company and has promised him year to year that he will get promoted. Instead, they are promoting his fellow audit manager, Craig Allan because of all the connections and the new clients he brought to the firm. They can suggest Charles Tollison to shift some of his time from the audit/accounting work and try to bring in new contracts, as that is one of the major qualifications of a partner.

3. As a large international accounting, the criteria used when evaluating individuals for promotion to a partner is to place emphasis on the individual’s behavior, personal expectations, aggressiveness, and individual achievement. Job success with international firms is primarily dependent upon the individual’s technical competence, advancement does not occur without the development of management skills. In order to be considered a partner you need to learn more sophisticated management skills such as communicating, organizing, motivating, and directing the efforts of larger and more numerous teams of staff and senior accountants. By the time a person is considered for partner, his or her primary responsibilities, in order of importance, are that of client development, staff supervision, and, finally, technical accounting activities. Thus, while technical ability is the most important skill needed at the start of a career, it is not the most important skill needed to become a partner of a large international accounting firm. Smaller accounting firms establish different criteria for evaluation individuals for promotion to partner as is an informal process and typically based on a person’s technical competence. Promotion is somewhat limited within small
accounting firms.

4. Some accounting firms manage their staffs according to an “up or out” policy governing both promotions and staff retention. The advantages of this type of management is that only those people with the potential to become partners is equivalent to retaining those with the greatest intelligence and skills, meaning a stronger and more productive work force in the firm than would exist if people with lower potential were retained, no matter how valuable they otherwise might be. Moreover, it can seem more honest and straightforward than the tendency of many employers to retain staff by giving them false indications of their future prospects for promotion. Disadvantages are the high turnover work environment of an “up or out” policy. It is one device to keep all employees constantly on their toes and exerting themselves at full speed, at times with extensive work weeks as an ongoing proposition.

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