Time Is Running Out for Succession Planning

Digital visualization of a blue alarm clockBONUS: 22-point M&A due diligence kit.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

Much has been written and discussed regarding succession planning at CPA firms driven by the vast number of founders, leaders, and rainmakers who are retiring at a record pace.

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: Expand Your National and Global Geographic Reach | Using a High-Performance Business Framework | What a Client Service Plan Can Add | 36 Consulting Services You Might Be Overlooking | How to Drive Consistent Partner Behavior | CPA Firm Partner Performance: Different Activities, Different Metrics | Develop the Partners You Already Have | How Many Partners Do You Need?
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Key takeaways in this post:

  • Mid-market sustainable brands generally combine practices as opposed to acquiring or buying practices.
  • Spend time to make sure it feels right.
  • The easier part is getting the contract signed; the harder part is the integration of the two practices and to make sure 1 + 1 at least = 3.

READ MORE →

SURVEY: Firms Must Build Their Benches

Ice hockey player in bench area watching actionIt’s that or watch your bright new stars bolt.

By Art Kuesel
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

In 2015, I saw a moderate shift in mindset from that of “let’s help everyone develop themselves” to “let’s target our resources at our high potentials.” Firms worked through their fears of offending lifetime managers as they saw high potentials depart at the fastest pace in recent memory.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: New Leaders Promoting Positive Changes | Cybersecurity Grows in Importance | Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Only a handful of firms started the year with formal “path to partner” programs while many more had them by the close of the year. And MPs reported that the biggest gap in skill set for partner potentials continued to be business development.
READ MORE →

SURVEY: Mergers Spur Growth

Five businesspeople shaking hands under office skylightLeadership, succession planning remain challenges.

By August Aquila
The Rosenberg MAP Survey

The majority of my clients had a very good year in 2015.

MORE FROM THE SURVEY: Don’t Just Win Work, Figure Out Why | Talent Wars, M&A Frenzy Continue | Next-Gen Leaders Getting Restless | Mergers Keep Racing Forward  | Do You Have a Firm or a Co-op? | Accountability, Equity, Compensation Are Concerns | MAP Survey Top 10 Findings | CPA Firm Revenues Rise a Hefty 8%
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

There were two primary reasons for their growth. First, many did more mergers than the year before, and second, they were acquiring more business advisory firms. One client told me that “they had enough accounting work and didn’t want any more, but would certainly be interested in acquiring a consulting firm.”
READ MORE →

When Silence Is Golden … and Not

Businesswoman with hand to foreheadA cautionary tale about commitment for partners-to-be.

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

Ask yourself and answer these questions when considering the current and future “commitment” behaviors that you’ll employ.

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: What Commitment Means Now | 13 Steps to True Commitment | When to Ignore a White Lie: A Cautionary Tale | Communicate Your Worth and Value | Best Practices for One-on-One Communication | Learn to Read Your Firm’s Culture | Experts Advise What Partnership Takes
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

1 – What is my first reaction to being asked to work outside of my normal hours?

READ MORE →

The Two Most Common Management Styles

Senior businessman with his team at officeDo CPA firms need management or leadership?

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli

Let’s start out with a straightforward question. What is the difference between management and leadership?

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: 8 Ways to Manage Clients | The Limitations of Rainmakers | Firms Only Grow When Partners Play Their Roles | The Four Basic Parts of CPA Firm Partner Agreements | Younger Partners See Succession Differently | How to Compensate Your Managing Partner | The Job of Managing Partner: Empowered or Emasculated? | How the Best Managing Partners Turn Ideas into Reality
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

From one point of view, leadership is far different than management.
READ MORE →

What Commitment Means Now

Smiling woman with colleagues in backgroundDo you and your firm have the same perception?

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

The Passport to Partnership study collated a number of responses in a conversational style. The need for commitment is showcased below and was repeated many times in various different ways.

So many use us as a stepping stone and we’re now trying to determine who those are at the interview stage.

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: 13 Steps to True Commitment | How Good Is Your Network? | RFPs: 7 Things NOT to Do | 5 Ways to Evaluate Your Communication | 7 Levels of Communication Management | 5 Ways to Get Buy-In for Firm Culture | Partnership: Competence Is Just the Foot in the Door
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Proof – if any were needed – that long-term commitment is not a given in the next generation of accounting professionals.
READ MORE →

8 Ways to Manage Clients

Two men shaking hands across a tableThis is Job 1 for the practice owner.

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli

Whether you simply desire to improve your firm’s operations or identify and implement a new long-term strategy, you need to be clear about the role that the owners, partners or shareholders should be playing in your firm.

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: The Limitations of Rainmakers | Different Roles for Different Partners | How Big ‘Books’ Hurt Firms | Developing a Three-Year Vision [VIDEO] | More Merger Questions Than You Imagined | MPs: How to Elect Them … and Fire Them | Partners as Role Models: The Good, Bad & Ugly | Managing the Managing Partner
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

To be sure, the roles and responsibilities of a CPA firm owner or owners will vary from firm to firm, based on that firm’s needs and circumstances, and you need to adapt any recommendations to fit your firm’s situation.
READ MORE →

13 Steps to True Commitment

Martin Bissett: "Make continual deposits in the goodwill account."What it means for partners.

By Martin Bissett
Passport to Partnership

Rising from senior manager to partner often means being promoted ahead of our peers and contemporaries. It creates a gap in earnings, stature and influence compared to those who just yesterday were our colleagues on a level playing field.

MORE ON THE PASSPORT TO PARTNERSHIP: How Good Is Your Network? | Shift Thinking from ‘We’ to ‘You’ | 7 Mistakes to Avoid When Going After New Work | Why Communication Matters So Much | 3 Questions to Evaluate Your Firm Culture | Competence: More Than Technical Skills | Are You Partner Material? Maybe Not
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

It can also mean that if we are coming into a firm from the outside, we are being promoted over people who have served at that firm for many years and understand the culture of the firm a lot better than we do right now. We may have to lead these people as the head of a department and if so, they’d better be on our side.
READ MORE →

The Limitations of Rainmakers

Young man under rain-covered umbrellaWhy marketing has to permeate the firm and the process.

By Bill Reeb and Dominic Cingoranelli

For most firms, new business comes in through referral. Therefore, the bigger a partner’s client base, the more likely that partner will bring in new business – which simply means that the more clients a partner knows, the more referrals that partner is likely to receive (not in percentage, but in raw numbers).

MORE ON PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT: Different Roles for Different Partners | Dealing With A-D Clients (You Know Who We Mean) | How Small ‘Books’ Hurt Firms | Why the Partner Agreement Matters | Merging for the Wrong Reasons | How to Implement Strategy, Step by Step | Accountability Requires Clear Expectations | How Retirement Issues Affect Succession Planning | How Partner Ratings Factor Into Equity
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

Other drivers of referral success are long-standing service (seniority) and position in the firm (such being one of the named or senior partners). In these cases, there is an extended opportunity for referral simply because:
READ MORE →