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Get off to a flying start

An insider’s guide to becoming a successful partner in practice.


View the guidebook

Click the button to see our guidebook on being a successful practice partner.

Partner succession and the retention and development of future partners is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the profession. There is a real need for clarity and support in developing future leaders, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to draw on the experience and expertise of successful partners who have 'been there and done it'.

This guide sets out insights and advice distilled from many hours of interviews with partners. It contains practical hints, tips and quotes for those working towards partnership and those new to the role.

In the press

The guide has had content featured in the following publications:

Case studies

Law firm Shakespeare Martineau

Find out how newly merged law firm Shakespeare Martineau are using the guide to support their partners:


Rakesh Shaunak, Managing Partner of MacIntyre Hudson

Rakesh talks to us about commissioning ICAEW to design a leadership programme for their new partners.

Rakesh Shaunak

“The Institute? Really?” 

Until recently, employees at MacIntyre Hudson benefited from excellent training at all stages of their career bar one: when someone was promoted to partner, they were thrown in the deep end and expected to have developed a seamless front crawl before too long.

The transition isn’t a simple one however. Rakesh explains: “The Partner needs to be the ‘provider’ rather than the employee, and it takes much more than just dispensing technical advice. You need to be thinking and behaving like a leader, and be great at things like business development and client engagement”

You no longer have anyone above you directing you, and are suddenly responsible for directing strategy, winning new business and growing the firm. Good training can go a long way to making this transition as fast and successful as possible.

So as Rakesh puts it, “choosing a provider is a big decision.” He himself spent a good deal of time researching professional development suppliers. When his HR director suggested ICAEW, he thought "The Institute? Really? Don't they just deal with regulation and technical matters?" Rakesh runs a successful business and wanted to partner with someone experienced in preparing people for a commercial world, not just a technical one.

“I had no idea ICAEW could help with training like this and I'm really pleased we asked you to work with us,” Rakesh asserts. He goes on: “I have people who are on the ICAEW programme saying to me: ‘Gosh, I didn't realise there was so much to being a partner. I knew what the role was but had no idea how to do it.’ The programme prepares you for that leap and teaches you to be authentic to your own style.”

ICAEW have run the programme for MacIntyre Hudson for two years now, and have received fantastic feedback from those who have taken part. Rakesh concludes: “The biggest benefit has been the mindset change. Individuals now realise they need to be working on the business rather than in the business. The focus for them is growth, clients and strategy rather than technical work, which is exactly the shift I was looking for.”

Guidebook author

Sue Mitchell FCA

  • ICAEW facilitator on our open and tailored leadership programmes for aspiring Partners www.icaew.com/dlip
  • Coaches senior financial executives in their transition to new roles, and the development of leadership skills
  • Chartered accountant trained at Deloitte
  • Over ten years’ experience as an in-house executive coach within KPMG
  • Accredited with the Association for Coaching and with the Law Society; Qualified MBTI practitioner and EQi (Emotional Intelligence) practitioner