A 2009 Tune-up for Your Firm's Succession Planning

Has your firm been proactive in making strategic decisions about succession? The good news is that even if you haven't created a workable plan, it's not too late to begin.

March 2009
by Dominic Cingoranelli/Journal of Accountancy

The pending retirement of the baby boomer generation and the unrelenting challenge of finding and keeping talented staff can have grave consequences for firms that fail to develop a succession strategy. With the AICPA's 2008 PCPS Succession Survey showing that only 35 percent of multi-owner firms had a written succession plan, now is the time to examine the state of your firm's succession strategy.

Succession planning is not limited to a single course of action. It involves evaluating different aspects of the firm and identifying systems, processes and policies that need improvement in order to position your firm for succession regardless of your exit strategy. Options for succession include selling or merging the firm, internal transition, practice continuation with other firms, or turning out the lights when it's time to retire.

Even firms that have a plan in place, however, sometimes neglect to update it to reflect changes affecting their business. Some firm owners who are looking to sell in the foreseeable future are finding that their practice is not as saleable as they'd hoped it would be. If your firm's plan is not all that it could be, The 2008 PCPS Succession Survey provides valuable insights into the state of succession planning among firms today. Consider the following information to help determine if your firm's succession plan needs a tune-up.

This article has been excerpted from the Journal of Accountancy.
Read the full article here.