Practice management experts frequently seem to be urging you to create a scalable enterprise, acquire professional management and develop clear metrics that will help you make better operational decisions. It appears that the profession is going through a phase where thousands of practices are taking this advice to heart, becoming businesses either through mergers of equals, acquisitions of firms of retiring advisors, or hiring key employees and turning them into partners.

Ross Levin, president of Accredited Investors in suburban Minneapolis, worries that something important is being lost in this trend. "As firms grow larger, metrics become an increasingly important part of measuring how you're doing," he says, "and perhaps even what you should be doing. The problem is that an incredible amount of things that are important are invisible to the metrics."

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