Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Business Administration

Major Professor

Robert Hammond, D.B.A

Co-Major Professor

Sajeev Varki, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Douglas Hughes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gert-Jan de Vreede, Ph.D.


Climate, Learning Application, Trainee, Workplace Atmosphere


The public accounting industry will face several challenges in the upcoming years. One challenge is an aging workforce that will be retiring in large numbers. This shift will result in a shortage of partner-ready candidates. The second challenge involves rapid technological disruption that is predicted to change the skill sets needed for success. Both issues underscore the need to recruit and retain talent in the public accounting profession. Academic research has focused primarily on Big 4 firms, so this paper focused on non-Big 4 firms. This study used exploratory research to examine two questions: “What skills does it take to ‘make’ partner at non-Big 4 firms?” and “What reservations exist about making the leap to partner?” Semi-structured interviews explored the differences and similarities in perceptions between audit partners, audit managers, and junior and senior accounting majors. The study compared perceptions across all three groups.

Included in

Accounting Commons