Corporate Finance & Governance | Leadership / Management

Will your firm survive?



Talk about your eye-opening numbers. In a recent presentation in Scottsdale, Ariz., AICPA President Barry Melancon examined some of the biggest issues impacting the profession today, and near the top of the list is the availability of CPAs. According to Melancon:

  • between 2002 and 2012, an estimated 35 million Americans will leave their occupations; and
  • between 2010 and 2030, the U.S. workforce will shrink by 10 percent.

Contributing to those numbers are the impending retirements of leaders of small businesses and CPA firms throughout the country. A solid succession plan can help ensure that your organization survives that transition. The problem, according to the AICPA's Private Companies Practice Section, is that a shocking 81 percent of firms have no documented succession plan in place.

Help is available, however, starting with this article from the AICPA, which offers guidelines for developing a workable succession plan. Among the suggestions:

  1. Recognize the need to plan.
  2. Treat succession planning as an everyday business activity.
  3. Put together a corporate structure. "When a practice plans for the future," the article states, "it becomes clear that transition in particular will run more smoothly if there are firm-wide procedures in place to address such topics as hiring and firing, compensation and other administrative issues."
  4. Create a written succession plan focusing on retirement, client transition and developing future leaders.

Interested in exploring succession planning further? Other helpful resources include:

Do you have a succession plan in place? Click "Comments" below and give us your best advice for putting one in place.


Bill Sheridan