2020 Outlook: Upstream Mergers

Look forward 10 years and be realistic about succession.

By Terry Putney
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

There appears to be an emerging mindset among buyers that because of the possible demise of compliance services like tax return preparation, smaller firms with significant 1040 practices should be avoided. Right now, there is no evidence the demise of the 1040 business is imminent for other than the simplest returns.

MORE: 2020 Outlook: Staffing Gets Creative


2019: Using M&A to Launch Consulting


Technology drives hours down 40%; how will your firm cope?

By Terry Putney
The Rosenberg Survey: National Study of CPA Firm Statistics

The market for mergers is clearly moving toward narrow selection criteria for the acquiring side of transactions. Part of this is because of the increasing numbers of firms seeking to be acquired that are available. However, acquiring firms are also much more strategic with their objectives for an acquisition.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: 2019: More Focused Training | 2019: Expect More Alliances | 2019 Trends: Client Service Changes | 2019: Shifts in Hiring & Office Space | 2019: Firms Grapple with Change | Staff Policies Improve, But Not Mentoring
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Strong organic growth means pure revenue acquisition is not enough anymore. Firms with a need for a near-term succession of a substantial portion of the partner group are finding fewer takers among the larger firms. Firms that can be acquired to help grow and launch non-traditional, non-compliance-oriented service lines are in high demand.

Succession Issues Stalling Some M&A

Four businesspeople, left handshakeOwner agreements are seeing updates.

By Terry Putney
Rosenberg MAP Survey

The level of activity we're seeing in M&A deals is unprecedented.

MORE FROM THE MAP SURVEY: Firms Focus on Profitable Growth, True Leadership | Survey: Many Firms in Transition | Technology Playing Center Stage in CPA Profession
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Many firms in larger markets are often approached directly by firms interested in discussing a merger. The days of discreetly pursuing an affiliation strategy appear to be waning.

3 Ways Firms Scare Off Successors

Man in suit pointing thumb downAnd 7 steps to making ownership attractive to new leaders.

By Terrence E. Putney
Bridging the Gap

Buying into a firm as a new owner involves great opportunity, but also significant risk. It is reasonable for ownership candidates to evaluate the potential for professional and financial rewards before taking such a step.

MORE: Sponsorship: Barrier to Exit for Diverse Talent | Use Collaboration Technology to Improve Your Firm | 3 Ways to Keep Your Team Members Connected, Engaged and Energized | Growing, Developing Future Leaders Is a Two-Way Street | A Winning Culture Is an Intentional Culture
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Therefore, firms must be willing to honestly assess the potential risks and benefits for candidates as they seek to attract new partner-owners who can contribute meaningfully to the firm’s continued success.

SURVEY: Next Generation Balking at Buyouts

"Partnership" written on two connected puzzle piecesM&A doesn't solve succession problems.

By Terry Putney, Transition Advisors
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

Succession for retiring partners continues to be a pressing issue for many mid-size and small firms.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Many Firms Have Already Lost the Battle with Succession | Embracing New Technology a Must | Technology Will Solve Labor Shortages | Cybersecurity Grows in Importance | Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings
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This is not a new trend. It is amazing how many firms are delusional about their prospects of remaining independent, while doing virtually nothing to address the core issue of acquiring and developing the talent necessary to build the new generation of owners.

How Succession Issues Are Driving Desperation Mergers

2016-ROUNDTABLE-OUTLOOK-FOR-ROSENBERG-MAP-COMMENTARY-VF-240x219Millennials, aging partners both skeptical.

They say "past results are no indication of future performance." Maybe. Maybe not. But if anyone should know, it's our panel of experts, their comments drawn from the new edition of The Rosenberg MAP Survey. These are their bullet points and comments, verbatim, looking back at the last 12 months and looking ahead to 2016. – Rick Telberg, CEO

By Terry Putney
Transition Advisors

Lessons from 2015:

The issue we are seeing that is most troublesome for firms is their lack of talent that can be developed into future leaders. Often partners want to place blame on the millennials and the different views they have regarding work-life balance.

MORE FROM THE ROSENBERG MAP SURVEY: Outlook 2016: Change Catches Up with Auditors | Strategic Plans Undermined by Out-of-Control Partners | Growth, Succession Plans Critical for Firms | Talent Wars Go from White Gloves to Boxing Gloves | Trend Outlook 2016: Change Agents Needed

However, it is clear many firms have failed to invest in leadership development. So they don’t have enough time to provide succession for retiring partners in their firms.


Good M&A Deals Start with Strong Leadership

Firms must act decisively or lose opportunities.

by Joel Sinkin and Terrence Putney

We work with hundreds of CPA firms across the country primarily assisting them with M & A of their firms. Firms that are successful with using M & A as a strategy to grow have to be agile and open to change. One of our mantras is if you want to stay the same, we can't help you.

The characteristics of the firms we work with that are the most successful are found in their leadership. The most agile firms have strong leaders that are able and willing to make informed decisions quickly. Firms that cannot make decisions quickly find that M & A opportunities pass them by.

Strong leadership is derived from several things, including:      READ MORE →

New Wrinkles in CPA Exit Strategies

Contrary to most predictions, the recession has not decreased valuations for accounting firms.

But sellers must be willing to agree to retention adjustments and smaller up-front payments, according to Joel Sinkin and Terrence Putney at Accounting Transition Advisors.

In addition, READ MORE →