1. Partner Summit: Moving Your Practice Forward

Thomson Reuters

Partner Summit 2021

Moving your practice forward

Building a more progressive firm

Over the past decade, the Partner Summits have given hundreds of firm leaders a unique opportunity to learn how to build a more progressive firm. Become part of this exceptional group at one of this year’s events, where Thomson Reuters speakers will share the perspective they’ve gained from years of helping firms redefine their business model, implement technology tools, and establish workflow best practices.

A guest practitioner who has successfully transformed their own practice will provide insights on how you can redefine your product and service offerings by distinguishing between advisory and compliance services — and how you can monetize the value of that difference.

Partner Summits are among our most popular and thought-provoking events of the year and they fill up fast. So leave behind the daily grind for a couple of days and invest in strategic thinking that will take your practice into a more progressive future!


Call us at +1 800 968 8900 or contact us online.

Dates and locations

Location Date (click to book your hotel)
Nashville, TN July 12 & 13
July 15 & 16
Austin, TX

July 26 & 27
July 29 & 30

Hilton Head, SC August 9 & 10
August 12 & 13
Sonoma/Napa, CA August 23-24
August 26-27
Las Vegas, NV

December 2 & 3
December 6 & 7

If you're interested in attending, you can also call your sales representative at +1 800 968 8900.

Agenda and sessions

Times shown below are subject to change

Day 1 agenda

Time Activity
7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions
9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Architect of a Breakthrough Firm
Product and Service Development
12:30 p.m - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sales and Marketing
6:00 p.m. Dinner

Day 2 agenda

Time Activity
7:30 a.m. - 8:15 a.m. Innovation Breakout:  An Introduction to Practice Forward (optional)
8:15 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. Breakfast
9:15 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Firm Management
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Operations
12:30 p.m - 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Operations
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Business Leadership and Transformation Plan

Partner Summit: Moving Your Practice Forward sessions

All sessions will be presented in a live classroom setting, where participants will earn 13 CPE credits.

Breakthrough: 1) An increase in knowledge or understanding; an important discovery that occurs after an extended time of trying; 2) the first important success.

Breakthrough Firm: A progressive tax and accounting firm that has found a way to break through the barriers of the traditional mindset to become not just a tax preparer, but a true partner — one that clients trust and rely upon for all their financial advisory needs.

A Breakthrough Firm creates a trusted advisor relationship with clients, builds multiple income streams for the firm, establishes the firm’s unique value proposition, and virtually eliminates the client fee pressure situations many accounting firms find themselves in today

In this session, we’ll help you better define your “why” and how it impacts everything you do in your firm. Our guest practitioner will share how his experience as an entrepreneur and his firm’s focus on client relationships have helped them transform from a traditional firm focused on compliance services to a firm that leads client engagements with advisory services. We’ll wrap up the session by helping you assess your current role and responsibilities, and challenging you to set a vision for your own Breakthrough Firm.

Are you a trusted advisor? Or are you really just a historian, only recording what’s happened in your client’s financial life? Most firms understand that they need to better define their client relationships and have more structured service offerings, but they struggle to change the way it’s always been done before.

In this session, we’ll help you distinguish your current advisory services from your compliance services by more clearly defining your firm’s service menu. We’ll introduce the four key pillars necessary in a true advisory-focused tax and accounting firm, help you start building the structure needed to offer more robust advisory services, and highlight the importance and value of clearly-defined ongoing maintenance packages.

This session will focus on better serving your clients’ needs through solutions matching. We’ll highlight the importance of implementing minimum levels of service for both advisory and maintenance services during the sales process. We’ll better define the Breakthrough Firm Typical Client persona, and help you understand how to use data mining to analyze and categorize your clients to capitalize on opportunities to expand your client engagements.

We’ll discuss the structure of a tested and proven sales process that has been highly effective with positioning advisory services to your new prospective clients, bust the myth of what the profession calls “value billing,” and show you how to truly link your firm’s engagement fees to the tangible value you’re delivering to your clients. We’ll also talk about how to overcome fee resistance, discuss why it’s important to show your clients the value you’re providing them, and explore how you can take advantage of selling opportunities that come up naturally in your conversations and across your client relationships.

You’ll hear real-life examples of ways to allow the value you deliver to clients to sell your firm services. You’ll also hear from other practitioners what works in their own firms. The information we share will help your practice overcome obstacles and take the action steps necessary to become a Breakthrough Firm.

We’ll wrap up the session by working through real-life examples with your peers, so you can apply the concepts you’ve learned so far.

Many firms are faced with significant staffing issues. In this session, we’ll help you solidify the vision of your firm’s staffing structure and begin creating a plan for leveraging your staff between advisory and maintenance services.

We’ll discuss how to better structure and shift staff roles and responsibilities to match your intellectual capital, transfer knowledge from a single person to other staff members, delegate responsibilities, and find the time to build client relationships.

In this session, we’ll present concepts and ideas to help you leverage your firm’s resources and move from working in your business to working on your business. We’ll also discuss the importance of standardization of systems and processes and the development of best practices to help your firm become more efficient, giving you more time to be a firm manager. Then we’ll work through the framework of an efficient workflow process, while taking a closer look at some of the most promising technologies for helping your practice become a Breakthrough Firm.

This session will help you look at your practice through the lens of a business leader, while you prepare your staff for a successful transition to a new, non-traditional way of executing your processes.

By this point in the Partner Summit you’ll have heard many innovative ideas about how to improve your firm, and about the technology tools that can accelerate your progress. This session will help you pull it all together so you can plan for the “leap of faith” that will make your practice a Breakthrough Firm with a customized action plan that includes a timeline, accountability steps, and more.

Partner Summit 2021 presenters

For over 20 years, Paul Miller has been building his firm with a focus on meeting client needs beyond compliance work, and with a business consultancy mindset.

When Paul became self-employed in 1993, Paul found resources for tax planning, business structure/entity optimization and overall business coaching difficult to find. After founding Business by Design in Edina, MN, his goal was to help other entrepreneurs and small businesses be more tax-efficient and make smarter business decisions, in addition to providing traditional accounting firm services.

Today, Paul has developed a firm which provides high-margin Advisory Services firm for small businesses. His firm’s advisory lead relationship with clients build multiple income streams for the firm and establishes a unique value proposition. His firm specializes in business planning strategies which help business clients with tax efficiency, business transitions, and/or equity building strategies. These value-based services virtually eliminate the client fee pressure situations many accounting firms find themselves in today.

Business by Design employs a unique “team” approach that pairs Paul’s own entrepreneurial expertise with a highly trained and diverse staff that includes accountants, CPAs, enrolled agents, paralegal and administrative staff to provide high-level, results-oriented services to their clients. Paul’s focus on progressive use of technology to drive firm efficiency and better serve clients, coupled with his consultative approach to helping business clients, has positioned Business by Design as a firm of the future.

Paul & his firm hold a key strategic relationship with Thomson Reuters to build and shape our advisory services offerings. The combination of Paul’s experience in day-to-day operations of an advisory services firm with Thomson Reuters expertise in software and consulting has resulted in creation and development of Practice Forward. Practice Forward is a service offering like no other in the marketplace that empowers firms to transform their business models through advisory services. 

Paul Miller

Owner/founder Business by Design

As the managing partner of FMA, C.P.A., a business advisory, tax and accounting firm based in Clearwater, FL, Mark Martukovich is building a firm that focuses being the trusted advisor for his clients.

Since joining the firm in 2009, Mark had been trying to build a business model that promoted the practice as an advisory firm. However, he struggled with a clear message and delivery method. In 2014 he attended his first Partner Summit, where he was introduced to the Breakthrough Firm concept — and he knew he’d found the model he needed to transform the firm.

He took the next step with the Thomson Reuters Practice Forward™ offering, becoming one of the first Practice Forward “graduates.” Since then, Mark has been successfully transitioning his firm from a traditional tax practice to a business advisory and accounting firm.

Mark graduated from The University of Akron with a degree in accounting, and is a licensed CPA in Florida and Ohio. He began his career as a staff accountant in Cleveland, Ohio, and transitioned into a business development role when he became the director of business development for the College Store Trade Association. He then spent 10 years as a commercial banker in the Tampa Bay area, working with small businesses to help them finance their capital needs, streamline their businesses, and plan for their eventual succession. Mark has more than 30 years of tax and accounting, business development and consulting experience with small and medium-sized businesses, and is the Managing Partner for FMA, C.P.A.  He has successfully transitioned from operations into the being the firm leader that focuses on business development and growing the advisory practice.   He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the SPCA Tampa Bay and is an active member in one of the largest business networking groups in the country. 

Since 1989, FMA, C.P.A. has been providing tax and accounting services, and has significantly grown the firm’s revenues coming from offering advisory service engagements. While the compliance revenue from legacy clients remains a majority of the current firm’s revenue, the advisory revenue has grown to nearly 45% of overall revenue and is expected to grow to $1 million annually within the next two years.  As an advisory firm, FMA, C.P.A.’s clients view the firm as a professional board that helps its clients view their business and the relationship with FMA, C.P.A. as an investment.

Any CPA firm can record history, FMA, C.P.A. can help you build a future.

Mark Martukovich, CPA


Brittany is managing partner of Lanphier LLP, a tax and advisory firm in Denver, CO, that she established with her husband, Dennis, in 2009.  Over the past 10 years, they have developed their practice around a relationship-based, advisory-focused approach to client service. 

Brittany and Dennis established their firm upon exiting Big 4 accounting with a vision for bringing big firm expertise to a boutique environment, serving small businesses and individuals with sophisticated tax needs.  However, in their first 6 years in practice, they found themselves running up against many of the challenges that so many CPA firms face in their efforts to provide excellent service – tremendous workload, long hours, growing overhead, and difficulty capitalizing on the value they were delivering to their clients. 

In 2016, they attended their first Partner Summit, and were introduced to the concept of the Breakthrough Firm.  The message resonated deeply with the type of firm they wanted to be while addressing the obstacles that were currently preventing them from achieving it.  Using the tools and consulting offered through Practice Forward, they have completely transformed their firm.  In the past 3 years, they have significantly increased top line revenue, bottom line profit, and profitability by client.  These changes have allowed them to grow their firm more strategically, increased cash flow for investing in new staff, and dramatically improved their quality of life as firm owners.      

Brittany graduated Summa Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a B.B.A. in Accounting and an M.S. in Finance.  She was recruited by Deloitte to join their International Tax team in Denver, where she met her husband, Dennis.  They now have 3 young daughters, Brooklyn, Addison, and Hallie, and make their home in South Denver. 

Brittany & Dennis continue to invest in their practice using the Breakthrough Firm principles to create systems that empower staff and allow them to step into a true leadership and growth role within the firm.

Brittany Lanphier

Lanphier LLP

As a Principal Trainer at Thomson Reuters, Therese has more than 20 years’ experience empowering tax and accounting professionals to embrace change and improve the operations, profitability, and success of their businesses. 

For more than a decade, Therese has been a lead presenter at Thomson Reuters Partner Summits—an exclusive thought leadership event designed to help firms thrive. She has also presented at SYNERGY users’ conferences, Evolve Your Practice virtual event series, various profession events, and at firm-sponsored events. She has guided thousands of practitioners, in hundreds of firms across the country to take full advantage of technology and integrated solutions to save time by creating efficient and effective workflows. 

Therese joined Thomson Reuters in 1999 as a product support representative for the tax product suite and was also the product lead for UltraTax/1040 and e-filing. She has been involved in product validation testing, on-demand training development, and content creation. In 2005, Therese joined the Professional Services team where she provides onsite and web-based trainings for UltraTax CS®, Fixed Assets CS®, FileCabinet CS®, Planner CS®, and ToolBox CS®.

Therese holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in management from Western Michigan University, and is a CompTIA CTT+ Certified Professional Trainer.

Therese Witherow

Thomson Reuters

As a consultant with Thomson Reuters, Mo is passionate about working with clients across the country and delivering an exceptional client experience. Mo specializes in advisory, tax, and operational workflow and is a lead presenter at Partner Summit, Evolve Your Practice, and SYNERGY Users’ Conference.

In 2012, Mo joined Thomson Reuters as a product support representative for UltraTax CS. He then became a specialist for UltraTax CS and served as a product mentor and trainer and assisted the UltraTax CS Development Team with product validation testing. In 2016, Mo joined the Professional Services team. Mo provides live and web-based implementations for Practice Forward, GoFileRoom®, AdvanceFlow®, Onvio®, UltraTax CS, Fixed Assets CS, Planner CS, FileCabinet CS, and NetClient CS®. He is also involved in developing training content and course materials.

Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Mo worked for a local CPA firm focusing on Individual Taxation. He manages his own firm providing tax compliance and advisory services to individuals and small businesses. Mo continues to work with firms across the country to bring positive change to their workflow, enhance their use of technology, and develop best practices to ensure their success in an ever-changing industry.

Mo holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Eastern Michigan University.

Mo Arbas

Thomson Reuters

* CPE Credits: Thomson Reuters, Tax & Accounting, Professional Software & Services is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry.