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advocacy community education
The goal is to highlight what the firm
has to offer. In order to provide the exit-
ing owners with the best personal and
business choices, the firm should have
a market niche, extensive client basis,
or technical expertise that would be of
interest to others.
If retiring partners hold an expertise or
specialized certification that will require
replacement, firm owners must be
proactive in determining these skills
and competencies and investing in the
attraction, development, and retention
of talent.
Price consideration is another impor-
tant aspect of the succession plan.
What are the retiree's financial needs?
Are there additional retirement income
resources available?
Having a thorough and realistic
assessment of the present and future
values of the firm can help manage
expectations and determine the type of
buyout. Market conditions also affect
the plan. With so many firm leaders
exiting in the next decade, retiring lead-
ers may have fewer options.
Determining the succession model
depends on many factors, including the
needs of the retiree and the composition
of the firm. Firm leaders who wish to
transition the firm to an internal staff
member must identify the emerging
leader early and groom the person for
the new position. Retirees with shorter
timelines may need to focus on merger
or acquisition options. Retirees who wait
too long or fail to develop succession
plans may exit with little value received.
Succession Planning is a
Growing Concern for the CSCPA
Approximately 55 percent of the mem-
bers of the CSCPA are age 50 and
older, yet casual conversations with
members and audience responses at
succession-related CPE sessions show
that few of the members have succes-
sion plans in place for their firms.
This is an opportunity for members to provide input on
types of information and services related to firm succes-
sion the CSCPA could provide. The research results will
provide guidance for the development of a model educa-
tional outreach program for CPAs in public practice under-
going retirement and firm succession planning.
In early May, approximately 1,000 managing partners,
general partners, or principals in public accounting firms
will receive an email from Executive Director Art Renner
announcing the project and inviting the member to partic-
ipate via a link to an online survey. The survey, developed
in the online survey program SurveyGizmo, will contain
directions for completion of the survey. The survey takes
no more than five to 10 minutes to complete and includes
questions about:
Your thoughts about appropriate retirement age
The composition of your firm
If you do not have a succession plan, some of reasons
you have not developed a plan
If you do have a plan, what approach you are considering
The information you would like to see the CSCPA provide
A preliminary review of the offerings by other state CPA
societies in the area of firm succession indicates little
involvement outside of the occasional seminar or article
in the society publication. The AICPA has recognized the
importance of firm succession planning and now has
a succession portal on its website. The CSCPA leader-
ship wants to bring this important information, tailored to
meet the needs of the small- to medium-sized firm, to
the membership.
Do not miss this opportunity to be part of the development
of the succession-planning website and future program-
ming! Taking a few minutes to fill out the survey will not
only provide important information about your needs and
opinions, but may jumpstart your succession planning
process as well. The CSCPA does not want you to be the
reluctant retiree still working at age 70 because you do not
have a succession plan.
CPA Firm Owners: The Reluctant Retirees
(continued from previous page)
Succession Planning Survey
CSCPA members Pamela Q. Weaver from the University of Hartford and Marie G. Kulesza
from Saint Joseph College are conducting a survey to find out the plans, needs, and
concerns of the members regarding firm succession.