New app aims to keep partners accountable


If you’re like most CPA firms, you’ve had your fair share of partner accountability challenges. Luckily, industry experts, notable partners and developers have finally come together to lead change in this area with a new tool: the Partner Accountability App.

Here are some of the common issues this groundbreaking technology addresses:

1. Timely review of work submitted by staff. Got partners who tend to overpromise and underdeliver when it comes to timeliness of workpaper review? Just as parents use Screen Time controls to help young people stay on top of their priorities, you’ll be able to turn off access, cross-device, to all of a partner’s activitiesexcept for the open workpapers that were submitted for review.

In effect, the partner will not be able to do anything on their phone, computer, tablet or smart watch until they have finished their work.

Partners may Request More Time for unrelated apps (like checking email, working on a different client, reading the news, or using a legacy social media site called Facebook) while they are supposed to be doing their review work for your specific client, but you are free to deny their request.

2. Appropriate pricing. Using artificial intelligence, the Partner Accountability App (PTRACC) can detect when a partner drafts a proposal and types in a price that would make the prospect say yes but the managing partner say no. When such an amount is detected, PTRACC alerts the partner with a “TOO LOW” warning.

After three attempts fail to meet at least average industry profitability for your accounting firm’s size, the proposal is locked from further editing and sent to Ron Baker to set the price. There is, of course, a price for Ron’s services, which will put most small engagements in the red before they even start. However, this consequence is highly effective, and most partners quickly learn to improve their pricing practices.

3. Timesheets and billing. Have a partner who just can’t get their timesheets in on time? Or dreads the thought of charging for their services so much your WIP is steadily growing to three or four times monthly revenue? PTRACC uses gamification to encourage partners to get on board with these basic job requirements. In order to access their email, audit or tax software, and Microsoft Teams, partners must play the following games:

  • Timesheet Treasure Hunt (daily): Takes place in a safari landscape. Partners search for the missing hours hiding in various shrubs and animal lairs. Using GPS and device location tracking, PTRACC knows how much time each partner spent at their computers, in the office or meeting with clients each day. Partners must hunt for the matching number of hours and assign time codes correctly before they can complete the round.
  • Minecraft Billing (weekly): Partners use their skill and creativity to develop invoices for clients by mining (collecting) blocks of WIP they find in the landscape. Partners then use a crafting table to create invoices from the WIP. Once the partner’s WIP balance has been mined to a low enough level (set by the firm) and invoices have been created, the app automatically issues invoices to clients, and the partner can leave the game. Many partners find it so much fun that they just keep billing!

PTRACC just secured its Series B funding and will continue to develop new accountability features, including developing business, delivering constructive feedback and adhering to the firm’s core values. Requests for new features are always appreciated and can be submitted to the author of this article, but must be received no later than April Fool’s Day, 2022.

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