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Clients keep managing partner aware

AS A school leaver Alan Good opted for a commerce degree because it was about the broadest professional course on offer.

Now Mr Good is managing partner of PriceWaterhouse Coopers, ranked number one accounting firm in the Business News Book of Lists.

Along with managing the entity formed from the recent merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, he also carries a full client load.

“I have the view that partners especially should be focussed on clients – not administration,” Mr Good said.

“If you become too administration focussed you need to employ somebody else to take care of that.

“You have to watch for becoming remote from the staff and carrying a client load helps.

“I mainly interact with the staff when working on client’s affairs.

Mr Good said, as Price Water-house and Coopers & Lybrand merged, they went global at the same time.

“If you look on a global basis, both firms had similar ambitions. The merger was a good fit because we were both on the same track,” he said.

“Since the merger we’ve had a huge change in the culture and methodology we use.

“It hasn’t been without some hard yards and the biggest disappointment is that we are still located in separate buildings.”

The company is currently hunting for a building to house its 400 WA staff.

“We have more staff now than when we merged and we’ve made five partners since then,” Mr Good said.

He said there had been big changes in the accounting profession since he started with Coopers & Lybrand in 1970.

The profession is relying less on compliance and more on business advisory work. The range of services accounting firms offer is broader and technology has made a difference.

“When I started, Coopers & Lybrand only employed commerce graduates,” Mr Good said.

“Now we employ lawyers, engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians and psychologists. We have the biggest actuarial practice in Perth and employ 60 per cent to 70 per cent of Perth’s practising.”

Unusually, Mr Good has remained with the one firm throughout his career.

“The enjoyment of the people I’ve worked with and the clients I’ve worked for has kept me here,” he said.

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