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The most commonly cited reason for
the lack of a written succession plan
was I have not decided what succes-
sion approach I want to take for my
retirement, indicated by 52 percent of
the respondents. Sixty-nine respon-
dents, or 44 percent, selected There is
no one working at my firm qualified to
become my successor. The combina-
tion of these two responses may high-
light a significant issue for the firm
owners belonging to the CSCPA.
Forty-two of the 81 people indicating
that they had not decided on a succes-
sion approach also indicated that there
was no one working at the firm who
was qualified to take over. The third
most prevalent reason cited, My retire-
ment is not contingent upon a succes-
sion plan because I have other retire-
ment resources available to me, may
identify a group of firm owners who are
simply not concerned with succession
issues or for whom there is little
urgency to develop a plan.
The top responses for smaller multi-
owner firms were similar to the sole pro-
prietors. However, once the firms had
three or more partners, the response
regarding a lack of a qualified successor
working at the firm became less preva-
lent. For the three- to five-partner male
group, in addition to I have not decided
what succession approach I want to
take for my retirement, almost half indi-
cated I am not ready to think about my
retirement. Most of the individuals at
firms with six or more partners had suc-
cession plans, and those who did not
cited other reasons for the lack of plan-
ning. The responses for the total group
appear in Table 1.
A Theory Emerges
Although CPAs often guide clients
though succession issues, the survey
results highlight a common problem for
CPAs nationwide. CPAs, especially
those in smaller firms, struggle with
developing their own firm succession
plan. As the results indicated, CPAs
are not sure how to proceed and many
firms do not have an identified succes-
sor. In the same survey, 84 percent of
CPA firm owners with succession
plans planned to transition the firm to
someone within the existing firm (see
the upcoming January/February 2012
issue of Connecticut CPA for more
information on this).
Couple these two results together and
a theory emerges. Specifically, CPAs
have traditionally passed their firms on
to someone within the existing firm and
when they do not have someone in the
firm that meets their requirements, they
are not sure how to proceed.
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Note: Respondents checked all that applied.
New Succession Planning Survey
(continued from previous page)
TABLE 1. Why The Respondent Does Not Have
A Written Succession Plan
Total Group
Count
Percentage
I have not decided what succession approach
I want to take for my retirement.
81
52%
There is no one working at my firm qualified
to become my successor.
69
44%
My retirement is not contingent upon a succession
plan because I have other retirement resources
available to me.
36
23%
I believe I still have plenty of time to develop a
succession plan.
28
18%
I am too busy.
27
17%
I am not ready to think about my retirement.
23
15%
I do not know how to start developing a plan.
16
10%
Other.
15
10%
I am hoping a family member will enter the
profession and become my successor.
13
8%
My firm does not have the economic resources
to support a buyout of my interest.
7
4%
I am waiting for the economy to improve so I can
afford to retire.
4
3%
I am waiting for the economy to improve because
I hope the value of my firm will increase.
1
1%