Servicers, Minders and Finders: The Path to Becoming a Leader

by Henry Rinder, CPA, ABV, CFF, CGMA, CFE, DABFA, Smolin, Lupin & Co., LLC – April 10, 2024
Servicers, Minders and Finders: The Path to Becoming a Leader

CPAs assume several distinct roles that contribute to their professional success as they progress from entry-level positions to becoming leaders serving clients or employers and becoming thought leaders and rainmakers.

By observing experienced leaders, adopting effective strategies and embracing these roles, accounting and tax professionals can learn to navigate their career paths with purpose and achieve long-term success.

Servicers: At the Forefront

The role of “servicers” is a vital one. These are the dedicated service partners and staff who navigate the intricacies of the accounting profession. They cultivate technical skills with unwavering attention to detail and a relentless work ethic. They form the backbone of the profession as they adeptly service clients and companies by providing accounting, auditing, tax and consulting services.

With a commitment to professional growth, these CPAs continuously learn and refine their technical expertise. The evolving new technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), promise to make their work more efficient and allow them to spend more time counseling clients and corporate leadership.

Establishing a solid foundation as a service professional can easily become the spring-board for another career. However, top-notch servicers in public accounting set themselves apart through their mastery of client relationships. They foster client retention by delivering exceptional value to clients and colleagues alike.

Minders: Building Relationships

Successful minders focus on leadership, relationship-building, collaboration, governance and effective communication. To become skilled minders, CPAs should observe and learn from accomplished leaders in the field. Studying their approaches and emulating their strategies fosters the devel­opment of leadership skills in relationship- building, decision-making and coaching and mentoring.

Those who serve as minders also play a vital role in mentoring and developing junior staff. They provide guidance and support to help new accountants develop their skills and knowledge. Minders can also drive a positive and supportive work environment, increasing employee satisfaction and retention.

Here are some specific ways in which minders mentor and develop junior staff:

  • Provide regular feedback and coaching.
  • Assign challenging tasks that will help junior staff to grow and develop.
  • Share their own experiences and insights.
  • Be a role model.
  • Create a positive and supportive work environment.

By mentoring and developing junior staff, minders help establish a succession pipeline and ensure that the accounting profession continues to thrive.

Finders: Becoming Rainmakers

Finders (otherwise known as rainmakers) play a vital role in accounting as they possess expertise in business development, networking and relationship-building. They are responsible for acquiring new clients in public accounting and driving revenue growth for their organizations.

Aspiring rainmakers should hone their communication and interpersonal skills, cultivate a robust professional network and adopt a proactive mindset to identify and seize opportunities.

Transitioning from a grinder to a rainmaker requires developing a comprehensive understanding of client or business needs and the ability to offer sound solutions.

Successful rainmakers exhibit specific traits and behaviors that contribute to their success. They are proactive, strategic thinkers who actively seek opportunities, nurture relationships and position them­selves as trusted advisors. Emulating their approach involves developing a strong personal brand, leveraging networking opportunities and continuously expanding industry knowledge. By adopting the strategies other successful rainmakers employ, CPAs can enhance their business development skills and accelerate their career growth.

The Power of Strategic Collaboration

Orcas and dolphins exemplify the power of teamwork and collaboration when capturing and hunting schools of fish. These highly intelligent marine mammals work together in packs to maximize their chances of success. The business world thrives on similar teamwork and collaborative efforts.

Drawing parallels between successful rainmakers and intelligent hunters in nature, we find that collaboration and teamwork play crucial roles in career progression. Top minders understand the value of working in groups, leveraging collective strengths and pursuing opportu­nities collectively. Fostering collaboration, sharing insights and building strong professional networks allow individuals to harness the power of teamwork for success in accounting.

For example, forensic accountants attending, exhibiting and participating at legal conventions and conferences can benefit from working in collaborative teams to pursue prospects. These events bring together a diverse pool of lawyers, creating a fertile ground for networking and business opportunities.

Engaging in meaningful conversations, sharing insights and building relationships during professional conventions, conferences and similar gatherings can lead to fruitful partnerships, referrals and, ultimately, business success. Similar to the intricate choreography of marine mammals, navigating these events with a collaborative mindset enhances the likelihood of successfully seizing vast opportunities. Embracing a collaborative approach allows accounting professionals to tap into a broader range of prospects, increasing the likelihood of securing valuable outcomes.

Starting as a service professional provides a solid foundation for career growth. Embrace the roles of servicers, minders and finders. Learn from experienced, successful leaders, emulate their strategies and unlock the opportunities that lie ahead in your accounting career. 


  • Get your CPA license. This is the most crucial step you can take to advance your career.
  • Get involved in professional organizations. The AICPA and state CPA societies provide a great way to network with other professionals and learn about new opportunities.
  • Attend professional events. This is another excellent way to establish new professional relation­ships and nurture existing ones.
  • Get involved in firm/company governance. This is a great way to gain experience and show your potential for advancement. Volunteer, raise your hand, get noticed.
  • Volunteer for local boards. This is an effective way to learn about corporate governance and network with local corporate and community leaders.

Henry  Rinder

Henry Rinder

Henry Rinder, CPA, ABV, CFE, CFF, CGMA, DABFA, is a member of the firm at Smolin, Lupin & Co., LLC. He is a past president of the NJCPA.

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This article appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine. Read the full issue.