background image
advocacy community education
Succession planning is a deliberate
and thoughtful process with the goal of
maximizing value to exiting firm own-
ers. Four common succession options
considered by firm owners include:
1. Transition to internal staff,
2. Sale to an external entity,
3. Merger with another firm, or
4. Reduce the workload, close
the doors, and walk away.
The survey results indicated that 84
percent of CSCPA firm owners with
written succession plans planned to
transition to someone within the
existing firm. More than half of those
owners were from firms with three to
five partners as opposed to smaller
firms. Chart 1 (on the next page)
shows the breakdown of the respon-
dents' choice of plans.
By developing talent internally, firm
owners sustained their firms for the
long run. However, changing demo-
graphics, an uncertain economy, and
a shortage of qualified internal staff
has had a major impact on growth
and retention of staff. As a result,
transitioning the firm to someone
within the existing firm may not be a
viable option. Many firm owners
faced with this situation do not know
how to get started in the succession
planning process.
CSCPA Succession Planning Survey Results
Succession Plan Preference and the
Role of the CSCPA in Succession Planning
By Marie G. Kulesza, MSPA, CPA and Pamela Q. Weaver, DBA, CPA
In May 2011, a representative group of 194 members of the CSCPA who were managing partners, general
partners, or principals in public accounting firms completed a succession planning survey. Part one of the
results appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Connecticut CPA magazine and indicated that
many CPAs struggled with developing their own firm succession plan. While recognizing the importance of
succession planning, CPAs (especially in smaller firms) were often not sure how to proceed.
Part two of the results focuses on which planning methods the CPAs who had a written plan preferred and
the role of the CSCPA in assisting members with firm succession planning.