Analysis of Jeffrey Weiner’s “The Power of Showing Up”

Avatar photoMarc Rosenberg, CPA / Jun 6, 2023

Jeffrey Weiner joined Marcum in 1981 and has led the firm since 1990 when he was named managing partner. Marcum LLP is a national accounting and advisory firm. Accounting Today puts their annual revenue at $1.2B, making them the thirteenth largest CPA firm in the U.S. They have 39 offices from coast to coast.Jeffrey Weiner headshot

If there were nominees for the most successful, dynamic, and admired managing partners in the country during the past 10–20 years, Jeff would certainly be on anyone’s shortlist. One thing I have long appreciated about Jeff is his series of Friday blogs, “Thoughts of the Week.” I’ve been reading them for many years, and they have never ceased to teach me lessons about CPA firm management as well as life in general.

He recently wrote a blog that really resonated with me, called “The Power of Showing Up.” Here is a summarized version of it.

I have two sons in the workforce, ages 31 and 28. I try to give them the advice I hope most parents give their children of the same generation.

When my son Leo got his first job after college, I gave him three simple rules to follow: be the first one in, be the last one out, and whatever they ask you to do, do more.

In addition to the above three rules:

  1. Show up and make sure your boss knows you by name and face.
  2. Do a really good job, all day, every day.
  3.  Be a team player and be part of the team.
  4. Have a real mentor—someone at your company who has a vested interest in your success. Your success is their success.
  5. And did I mention, SHOW UP? Remote work was effective for a while but it’s NOT sustainable. That is not to say we will ever, in most cases, go back to working five days/40 hours a week in most professional office environments. But hybrid is hybrid, which means actually showing up in the office sometimes, and, in my opinion, more often than not. In a five-day work week, that’s showing up in the office for three days or more.

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Why Jeff’s blog resonated with me

  • I have a son who, after years performing as a jazz musician, changed careers and is now in the computer technology field. He just got his first tech job. This will be his first time being an employee. I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking to him about what it means to be a successful employee and how this is accomplished.
  • I have been mentoring college students for about ten years, mostly accounting and finance majors, at the two best Chicago area universities for accounting. We talk about what it takes to be successful. They ask me questions they are reluctant to ask their professors. The experience has been wonderful.

Most important themes of my mentoring

In my 40 years in the business world, I have observed several important traits of successful people that young people need to understand:

  • No successful professional works 9 to 5. Contrary to the opinions of some young folk, this can be done without sacrificing work-life balance.
  • Interpersonal skills are key in both one’s business and personal life. With your peers. With your superiors. With your clients. With your family and friends. Successful people frequently go outside their comfort zone to build relations with others.
  • They never stop learning, regardless of age. I tell all my clients that I’m one firm smarter than the last firm I worked with because I keep learning from them.

An interesting dilemma for staff

Every few years, we ask 20 or so CPA firms in the Chicago area to send one of their young staff to a Staff Forum we host. Our goal is to learn what young people are thinking, how they see their job, what their work experiences are like, etc.

One question we always ask is: “What is your favorite thing about your job?” For the past 10 to 15 years, the hands-down winner at every meeting is the people they work with, both peers and supervisors.

Today, with so many people working 60%–100% remotely, this impacts their favorite thing – relations with the people they work with. They would be so much more successful by “showing up.” It seems that relations with co-workers may still be important, but this now takes a back seat to working remotely.

Memories about my first job

My first job out of college was with the international CPA firm Ernst & Young. My greatest memory from that job is that for my first year or so, they paid me a handsome salary to get trained. They gave me on-the-job training (the most effective way) on a variety of assignments, and interaction with peers and supervisors including informal lunches and classroom training (the least effective method). Words can’t describe how beneficial to my career development these unscheduled, ad hoc, one-on-one discussions and lunches were. I wonder how staff get these benefits by NOT showing up, instead interacting with people mainly via Zoom or Teams (or not at all).

Have a real mentor

I mentor college students to provide them with the mentor I never had when I was in college. Plus, I really enjoy it.

Obviously, I had many supervisors at Ernst & Young. But the thought never occurred to me to pursue one or two of them as mentors. The word “mentoring” was not in my vocabulary. Big mistake. A big part of “showing up” is to be proactive about seeking mentors and getting performance feedback.


I think it’s a terrible shame how many CPA firm offices I have visited in the last three years are almost totally empty. It’s like walking through a ghost town. CPA firm personnel from coast to coast aren’t showing up. I know I’ll get a lot of pushback on this blog, so it was gratifying to see that one of the CPA profession’s most prestigious leaders (Weiner) agrees with me. Thanks, Jeff!


  1. STEPHEN M SMITH on June 7, 2023 at 8:51 am

    I run a small NYC CPA firm of 9 professionals, and we are much better together. we are strong supporters of showing up

  2. Rich Augustine on June 7, 2023 at 10:50 am

    The development of a team and a team culture depends on its members showing up. You can’t very well have a team with its members at home; virtual football, golf etc. does not work and long term virtual office will begin to devalue and tear apart the team.

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