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How does working for a partnership differ from a corporation?

(9 Posts)
snowgirl1 Mon 29-Jun-15 15:08:09

There's a vacancy I've seen advertised that's in my filed which is ideally looking for someone with experience in working in a partnership. I know (or at least, can look up!) how a partnership differs from a corporation from a structural/legal/liabilities perspective, but can anyone with experience of working for a partnership tell me about how it differs on a practical level? Why would it be so important that candidates have previously worked in a partnership environment?

FieldTrip Mon 29-Jun-15 15:17:36

I wouldn't have thought it does, unless you're the accountant or finance manager or similar?

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 29-Jun-15 15:46:18

Practically the owners of the the business (the partners) unless it is a LLP have unlimited financial liability for the business. The partners are self employed and pay tax on the profits on the business.
I think it would depend on the industry. In my industry there are sole traders|partnerships and the corporates. If you work for a corporate you will follow protocols etc. In the sole trader\partnerships you are likely to have a lot more clinical freedom.
From employing several people I would say there are some individuals who do not do well with the clinical freedom and others who thrive. I now only employ those who want to work exclusively for sole trader\partnerships.

PetShopGirl Mon 29-Jun-15 15:54:09

Can't think what practical difference it would make to the employees. Are you sure it's not referring to experience of working on projects in partnership with other organisations/stakeholders?

snowgirl1 Mon 29-Jun-15 16:15:21

It's an accountancy partnership, but the role they are recruiting for is an HR role. When I spoke to the agency that's recruiting they said that they are primarily looking for someone who has experience of working for a partnership - and specifically mentioned "experience such as working for an accountancy or legal partnership" - so I don't think they mean in experience in working on projects in partnership with other stakeholders. Maybe they are just looking for someone who has experience of working outside a big 'corporate' where there is a department to for everything?

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 29-Jun-15 18:19:35

Oh I might be concerned there is need to mediate between partners.

OllyBJolly Mon 29-Jun-15 18:25:30

The main difference I can see that would impact on HR issues would be on Rem & Bens. A partnership is quite restrictive when it comes to profit-sharing/bonus payments etc. Depends on the field, but might be difficult to attract senior people if you are unable to offer any equity in the business.

There are also issues of succession, or promotion, because for people to get to partner level they would have to buy in to the partnership (sometimes facilitated by the company). This would have implications for the employment contract and any restrictive covenants.

The partners themselves will not be on employment contracts so that's a whole different ball game if there are any issues with performance.

Tobbo Mon 29-Jun-15 18:54:36

Hi - I work in legal in a support function and often ask for this in job specs for my new recruits. Essentially (in a general sense) I am looking for people with experience of working in partnerships as it can be a very tough environment. If you have eg 100 partners in a firm, that means that they are technically all owners of the firm. They in theory do not have to answer to anybody but themselves (though in practice in many of the big firms power is in practice given to an elected committee and partners are expected to 'tow the line' on important votes, matters etc). The partnership model means that each partner can in theory run their own little practice (empire!) and don't have to answer to anybody else. The politics can therefore be huge as a support function, it can be a bit of a minefield getting them all to agree to do things and there are many disagreements between all the partners. This can be a shock to people who have worked in corporates who would just get decisions approved by the top level eg CEO/ board (a small number of people), and the levels below would just have to fall into line. Sadly this is not how partnerships work....

Clearly you should not say all the above in quite such a strong fashion,but essentially I am looking for diplomacy, tact, professionalism, the ability to mediate gently between lots of different opinions and the type of personality who can deal with extreme politics effectively. Hope that makes sense and helps a bit. I suspect they may be looking for this kind of soft skill (but could also be looking for the HR specific stuff mentioned above, I am not in HR so can't comment on that).

snowgirl1 Tue 30-Jun-15 12:01:13

Thanks Tobbo, Olly and Lone - that's really helpful.

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