Internal Succession

Mature Businessman staring at computer_1.jpgHave you selected your successor?
Internal succession planning for CPA firms is perhaps one of the most avoided subjects for owners and partners to discuss. After years of building and growing a practice it is very difficult for the maturing members of a firm to address letting go of their business.

The facts speak for themselves:

  • 60 percent of the CPA firms surveyed by the AICPA have owners between 55 and 62+ years of age*
  • 74 percent of these practices predict that one or more of their staff members will reach retirement age in the next five years*
  • One third of the current partners of accounting firms suggest they will seek to reduce their time commitment and role in the firm in five years or less*

As we move into the next decade the baby boomer generation will continue to age and it is expected that within the next few years most CPA firms are going to be faced with increased numbers of retiring owners and partners. These boomers will be expecting their retirement funds or buyout dollars to be paid. If several retire at once without a succession plan in place, it could be detrimental to a firm’s continued viability.

sml pencil with figures_1.jpgAnother issue to consider is the unexpected passing of an owner or managing partner. The sudden loss of a firm’s leader can be extremely disruptive. Again, without an internal succession plan to ensure immediate continuity in leadership, a practice could fall apart as clients quickly find other accounting firms with more stability and valued staff seek positions elsewhere. Putting ego aside, firm leaders have to face the fact that it becomes a do or die decision that every CPA firm must make — and the sooner the better.

Transition Advisors specializes in working with managing partners and their team to create customized internal succession plans specifically designed for CPA firms. Our proven strategies assist you in developing a leadership succession plan to smoothly transition from one leader to the next in an orderly progression.

Our process puts into writing a well thought out succession plan that addresses all the variables facing an accounting firm with logical guidelines. These include:
  • Creating a process aligned with the firms long-term goals
  • Building an internal succession team
  • Determining the value of the firm when sold internally and/or externally
  • Re-allocating the workload of partners and staff, if necessary
  • Creating terms for retiring partners and any necessary documentation including but not limited to recommendations for amending the partnership agreement
  • Identifying and developing plans for future leadership
  • Assisting in choosing an appropriate successor
  • Training of future leaders
  • Planned scenarios for retirement, sickness or death of partners
  • Advising on the funding of retirement plans and pay outs to beneficiaries
  • Assisting in an annual review of the succession plan with up-to-date changes as needed
  • Helping you understand how to attract and retain the best talent as a means to executing your plan

While an arduous process, it is absolutely necessary for a practice to have an internal succession plan in writing and readily available to reference. Transition Advisors can work with you and your firm to make the creation of this plan a less formidable experience for all involved.

Our experience speaks for itself. With over 950 buy, sell and merger transactions, as well as countless of strategic advisory clients, we have the knowledge and expertise to handle even the most tenuous situations.

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*According to a 2008 AICPA Study