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High Performance Firms- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Program Basics

What is the best way to learn more about the program?
You can get additional information by visiting the main webpage and listening to the recorded informational call or by contacting Upstream Academy at 406-495-1850 or info@upstreamacademy.com.
When does the program start and what is the registration deadline?
The registration deadline is September 15. This allows enough time for you to complete the initial assessment and receive the results before the first workshop on October 19-20, 2016.
How long is the program?
High Performance Firms consists of four 2-day workshops over the course of two years. We anticipate that the changes made to your firm will provide long-term direction for your firm and it may take several years to complete all the initiatives.
Who runs this program?

Sam Allred is a Director at Upstream Academy. He interacts with hundreds of CPA firms around the world each year via professional conferences, partner retreats, and conference call presentations. Sam is widely regarded as one of our profession’s top strategic thinkers and has been named for the past five years as one of IPA's "Most Recommended Consultants.

Tim Bartz, Director at Upstream Academy, was named one of Inside Public Accounting’s Top Consultants for 2014. Tim was instrumental in the development of Upstream Academy, LLC and uses his many years of practical real world experience to ensure Upstream products and services remain relevant, practical, cost-conscious and effective in bringing accounting firms to a higher level of performance and productivity.

How do I register for the program?
You can register for the first workshop online with Visa, MasterCard or check or download a paper form by going to the registration page. We will invoice you for each subsequent workshop and allow you to make adjustments to the number of people attending.
What is the cost of the program and what kind of payment do you accept?

The first three firm members can attend each workshop for $3,500. Additional participants may attend for $800 each (UAN members can attend for $3,050 and $650 respectively.). We accept Visa, MasterCard and check payments.

Are there any additional costs not built into the program?
The program enrollment fee includes all materials and registration at the workshop. Cost for travel and lodging is not included.
Does it make sense to sign up for this program if we are already participating in other Upstream Academy programs (ELA, Management Presentations, conferences, etc.)?
The High Performance Firms program takes many of the Upstream Academy programs and brings them together into a comprehensive high level plan for the firm. If you already have participants in our other programs, the concepts and processes learned will integrate well into the program and provide a jumping off point for the program.

Participants
What will be the make-up of the group?
We will primarily see partners and Managing Partners from firms in the United States and Canada. Several firms will bring younger team members to ensure buy-in at all levels.
How many firms will be in each group?
To keep the group at the ideal size, we will limit enrollment to 15-20 firms.
What do you do with the photos we send?
The participant photos are used to create a directory that is sent to all registrants to encourage networking.
What is the time commitment for program participants?
Participants commit to attending each workshop (2 days), participate in one 30 minute call after each workshop and work on firm goals between workshops. Overall, we anticipate at least 100 hours of work each year from each participant.
Should shareholders who will are typically resistant to change be included?
We don’t recommend that these shareholders be part of the core implementation team because this group will need to get to work immediately, but would recommend that you keep any “boat anchors” informed of new initiatives and goals to ensure they feel a part of the process. Buy-in for firm initiatives created at the workshops must be non-negotiable. Since change always produces some discomfort, during the first workshop we will provide strategies and materials for the Implementation Team to use to gain buy-in from reluctant firm members upon their return.
Who should come to the workshops?
We require an Implementation Team of at least three people attend each workshop. Ideally this team would include your managing partner or CEO, your firm’s implementation expert (COO, Firm Administrator, etc.) and a partner who represents the firm’s future leadership group. Depending on your firm’s partner makeup, you may also decide to bring the majority of your partners.
Do the same people need to come to each workshop?
The Implementation Team needs to attend all four workshops to provide consistency and accountability. You can choose to also send additional people to each workshop; these may be different people for each workshop, but all those who attend need to be up-to-speed with any previous workshop’s principles and goals set by the firm.
If we have a small partner group would you recommend all attend?
We have deliberately kept the cost for additional participants to attend low to give you the option to bring multiple partners. If the partner group is small you might wish to bring the entire group to the workshop to ensure everyone is committed and has bought into the program.

Workshops
When are the workshops?
Workshop #1: Vision & Strategy, Financial Metrics, and Partner Alignment
October 19-20, 2016

Dates for Workshop #2: Strategic Team Member Alignment, Workshop #3: Providing Amazing Client Service, and #4: Developing a Culture of Business Development will be determined during the first workshop, based on the schedules of the attendees.
If we sign up, are we committed to all four workshops?
The workshops are designed to build on each other so we highly recommend that you make the commitment to complete all four. We will automatically invoice you for each workshop and the firm will need to have sent the Implementation Team to all previous sessions to be eligible to register for a workshop.
What if I enroll in the program, but don’t like it or feel that it’s not what I anticipated?
As with everything Upstream Academy does, your satisfaction with High Performance Firms is guaranteed. If you are not completely satisfied with the value you receive, we will, at your option, either refund your money or accept that portion of the fees that reflects your level of satisfaction.
Is CPE available for the workshops?
Yes, participants can apply to receive 15 hours of CPE for each workshop.
What is the schedule for the workshops?
Each workshop will run from 8am-6pm on the first day and 8am-3pm on the second day.
If we don’t have a firm vision, will the first workshop still be valuable?
Yes, during the first workshop we will share the vision of a high performance firm and help you customize this for your firm so that you can take it back to your firm and help everyone understand and get excited about the process.

Your Firmís Report Card, Goal Setting and Implementation
How is the report card analysis done and what does it include?
Prior to the first workshop, you will receive a questionnaire to complete that will give us (and you) a good understanding of your firm’s current position in each performance category. The bench marking information you provide will include analysis of firm processes, and analysis of your firm’s alignment with high performing firm practices and culture. We will analyze the data and provide a report card view of your firm’s current position in each area with explanations for each rating and recommendations for improvement. This information will be used during each workshop to customize goals for the firm.
What are the six areas will you focus on?
The six areas are:
1. Financial Performance
2. Client Management
3. Business Development
4. Team Development
5. Partner Effectiveness
6. Leadership and Vision
How much one-on-one help will participants receive in creating their customized plan?
Each workshop will include time to work on customized goals. During this time, the workshop facilitators will consult with the firm participants to help them create implementation plans for their goals. Facilitators will also follow-up with firms through one 30-minute conference call between each workshop to ensure the implementation process runs smoothly and you get the highest return on your investment.
Is additional consulting time available if we need more than the scheduled call?
If you would like additional consulting time, we can arrange additional conference calls or an on-site visit at a pre-negotiated rate.
What take-aways are available to help us implement goals after each workshop?
We will provide templates and sample documents, so the Implementation team does not need to recreate the wheel when they return.