background image
that occurs at the very end of the per-
son's career, but it truly encompasses
a broad range of situations. Consider
the following scenarios:
1. A 45-year-old sole proprietor with
two employees and a comfortable
1040 practice is killed or disabled in an
auto accident.
2. A firm with two age 55 partners and
four employees operates in essence as
two sole proprietorships. For health
reasons, one partner decides he wants
to retire as soon as possible.
3. A well-established firm has three
partners who each specialize in certain
services. The audit partner, age 50,
receives an inheritance and decides to
retire early.
All three of the above scenarios occur
well before the typical retirement age
and require decisions in a short time-
frame. A good succession plan has the
flexibility to deal with unexpected
changes. Many firms with plans in place
have a master plan for the retirement of
the partners or owner with contingen-
cies for emergencies and other situa-
tions. By frequently reviewing the plan,
the firm owner(s) can readdress conti-
nuity concerns as the firm matures. See
the sidebar at right, Just One Thing, for
a suggestion for emergency planning.
Take the First Step
It is never too early to think about
succession planning. Make sure you
provide yourself with enough time to
lay the necessary groundwork for a
good succession plan. Start by gath-
ering information about possible
options. Discuss planning ideas with
other firm owners. Attend seminars
and use resources provided to CPAs
by various organizations. Talk with
trusted employees about their aspira-
tions and concerns.
Part two of this article, which will
appear in the January/February 2012
issue of Connecticut CPA, will discuss
the survey results of the CSCPA firm
owners' choice of planning methods,
the role of the CSCPA in assisting
members with the planning process,
and some information to help get start-
ed. Succession planning should be
part of your firm's central business
practices. Don't delay. Start your suc-
cession plan today!
advocacy community education
8
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New Succession Planning Survey
(continued from previous page)
As the firm owners approach retirement age, the
lack of planning can undermine the confidence that
both clients and employees have that the CPA firm
will continue to take care of them.
Marie G. Kulesza,
MSPA, CPA is an
assistant professor
of business
administration at
Saint Joseph
College and has
more than 15 years of experience in
public accounting. She is a
trustee of the CSCPA Educational
Trust Fund and a member of the
CSCPA Student Outreach and Career
Awareness Committee, the American
Institute of CPAs, and the American
Society of Women Accountants. She
can be reached at mkulesza@sjc.edu.
Pamela Q. Weaver,
DBA, CPA special-
izes in tax and
business consulting
services. She is also
on the faculty of the
University of
Hartford's Barney School of Business.
She is the former chair of the CSCPA
Federal Income Tax Committee and
a member of the Advisory Council.
She holds a Doctor of Business
Administration focusing on optimizing
business performance and leadership.
She can be reached at
pweaver@pqweavercpa.com.