Choosing a CPA Leadership Development Program

By Jeff Pawlow

At TGP we are working diligently to develop future leaders for the accounting profession through our Partner Institute program (TPI). We are passionate about helping our clients succeed as business owners, and proud of the 300+ TPI graduates who have gone on to assume senior leadership roles at their firm.

Choosing the right CPA Leadership Development Program

Since launching TPI in 2004, we have seen several competing programs emerge that also focus on leadership development. As a result, we are often asked to explain what differentiates TPI from these alternative programs, especially since most are offered at a lower price point than our three-year experience. While we have genuine respect for our competition, this question is easy for us to answer: TPI is simply the most comprehensive leadership development program in the marketplace today, offering more instructor depth and curriculum breadth than any other option.

Additionally, TPI can boast an impressive statistic when it comes to quantifying the impact it has on participating firms. According to a previous Rosenberg Survey, the firms that had at least $2M in annual revenue collectively averaged $392,081 of net income per partner (NIPP). When you isolate the firms that also participated in The Partner Institute, you find that average NIPP jumps by $31,614 per partner to $423,675 – an increase of 8% over the baseline. Clearly, we are proud to play a supporting role in the success of these firms!

Breadth of Curriculum

During the three-year journey through The Partner Institute, participants will experience a robust curriculum that blends both classroom and online learning, meaningful OLO (outside learning opportunity) assignments that tie directly back to their role at their firm, frequent one-on- one interactions with both their personal leadership coach and their personal practice development coach, and ongoing collaboration with our world-class faculty who boast a combined 100+ year history of experience working within the accounting profession.

Our curriculum is built across the four major leadership disciplines, with several competencies being developed in each area. These include:

  • Personal Development – how do I lead and manage myself,
  • People Development – how do I lead and manage my team,
  • Practice Development – how do I successfully grow my firm organically,
  • Practice Management – how do I lead and manage a successful accounting firm

TPI participants also enjoy access to world class tools and materials, accommodations in top-tier training destinations, and the chance to be exposed to unique leadership perspectives from outside the profession through our scheduled interactions with The Disney Institute and Zappos.

Depth of Instruction

Realizing that several unique disciplines underpin an effective leadership development curriculum, we have recruited the TPI faculty to bring the added perspective of their real-world experience into the classroom. The eight members of the TPI Facilitation Team draw on their individual experience working inside the profession to add context to the courses they facilitate. Because our faculty preach what they have practiced, TPI participants enjoy an enhanced level of learning that translates leadership theory into the practical reality encountered within their firms.

Meet the TPI Faculty

Karen Durkin, MBA, PCC

  • 25 years of expertise working with business professionals
  • Top-rated executive coach and motivational speaker

Amanda Garner

  • 14 years of CPA firm marketing and communication consulting experience
  • Former producer at Meet the Press

Charles Hylan CPA, MBA

  • Product of Arthur Andersen‘s Enterprise Group
  • Editor of The Rosenberg Survey of CPA Firm Operations

Patrick Patterson

  • 18+ years of sales and business development coaching experience in the profession
  • Previous “Facilitator of the Decade” – The Rainmaker Academy

Jeffery S. Pawlow

  • Four-time recipient of Accounting Today‘s “Top 100 Most Influential” designation
  • Recipient of 7 AAM Marketing Achievement Awards – including 2 “Best of Show”

Jim Metzler, CPA, CGMA

  • Former Director of the AICPA‘s Private Company Practice Section (PCPS)
  • Former CPA Firm Partner

A Collaborative Experience

Finally, it is important to mention that we ask firms to appoint a “sponsor” for each participant sent to The Partner Institute. This senior practitioner serves as a second point of contact between the TPI coaches and the firm, and can help participants “clear the path” of any internal obstacles that may complete for the time they need to dedicate toward their TPI experience.

Generally, sponsors will participate in a pre-call with a TPI coach to outline the firm’s goals for the participant across the three-year experience and then, on an annual basis, formally reconnect to discuss the participant’s progress. Additional check point discussions can be requested by the sponsor at any time during the program.


Interested in learning more? We believe that The Partner Institute represents the pinnacle of leadership development programs within the public accounting profession, but we don’t want you to take our word for it. Take a look at what our participants have said over the years by visiting our Testimonial Page. You can also explore the TPI Curriculum in greater detail and download a syllabus and TPI Registration Form on our site.

When you’re ready to have a discussion about how TPI can support your firm’s successor generation, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly either via e-mail ([email protected]) or in the office (314-447-2354). We can also discuss our unique “try before you buy” offer that allows a participant to experience the program first-hand before making a final commitment to attend.

TPI 2018 will commence on January 24-26, 2018 at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.