Letter: True pride in a partnership

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The Independent Online
Sir: You rightly suggest ("Accountants ready to break the mould", City, 15 September) that despite the move by accountants to incorporate, partnerships have some redeeming features despite their apparently cumbersome structure. But the advantages of partnership go well beyond the will for self-preservation through high professional standards.

Partnership, with its implied equality of status, is a perfect mechanism. for regulation of power-crazy or money-crazy individuals that so demean our public corporate life. In partnership, those executing professional services (solicitors, accountants or surveyors) are there to serve only one group of people - their clients; this is simply not possible in corporate structures where the executive's principal responsibility is to its shareholders.

The essence of partnership is the mutual ownership of a business by the executive. In my partnership, at least, there is a tremendous sense of holding the business in trust for our successors, who will range from our senior staff to our newest graduate recruit.

But of prime importance is the fact that partnership structures give young entrants into the professions a genuine and realistic opportunity to become an owner of a business. Financial reward alone could not possibly compensate for the sense of pride, responsibility and belonging that true partnership can bring.

Yours faithfully,

Nicholas Shepherd

Partner, Drivers Jonas

London EC4

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