How to Find a Partner’s Replacement

Man choosing someone's face from a photo arrayShould you add a partner … or capacity? They’re not the same thing.

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli
CPA Trendlines / Succession Institute

Let’s assume you have a retiring partner. You have decided how to pay the partner for his/her value in the firm, you have pinned down the mandatory sale of ownership date (MSO) so you can phase that partner out of his or her leadership role in the firm, and you have covered the single most abused part of the succession process, which is client transition. It is now time to discuss how to find replacements for the retiring senior partners.

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: Action Plans for Transitioning Partners | Partner Retirement and the War for Clients | Succession: The Questions to Care About | The Pitfalls of Equity Allocation and Reallocation | CPA Firm Performance Assessments: 15 Core Competencies, 21 Questions | How to Target What Skills to Develop Now

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The most commonly asked question on this topic is “How can we find people with the same technical skills, management ability, client service capacity and vision for the firm’s future as those who are leaving?” The simple answer is “You won’t, so stop looking for that exact combination.”