The State of CPA Successions - The Visionary Group
Bob Lewis: Succession, mergers, and acquisitions. How do you grow? How do you adapt? How do you outsource? It all ties into the problem right now. The reality is we get approached by more and more firms that are asking, what is the value? How do we determine what the value is? Then how do we set up a program for the internal succession team? Even if it's all good, in some cases, that other part where the succession team doesn't have the skillset to grow it becomes a block and an obstacle. The risk is too high.
Doug Lewis: The one thing that we would certainly recommend when you're looking at an internal succession plan for firms is make sure you have some outside council. Right? We often see firms who will buy a one size fits all, here's how to do a succession plan, and here we go.
Bob Lewis: All right. Yeah.
Doug Lewis: This is all firms have to fit inside this box of our succession planning expertise. Succession plans are living, breathing documents. They should be changing and updated regularly based on the state of the firm, the staff that you have, the talent, these conversations that you should be having. Often firms make the mistake of waiting too long to actually start implementing their plans. That that's ultimately what hinders or destroys a lot of succession plans that we see inside firms.
Bob Lewis: Yeah, a really good plan is start with a 10- year window, five at, probably, the minimum. The other thing to look at too, which I've... We've seen more this year in than we've ever seen is partnership agreement problems. Partnership agreements are out of date. They don't reflect what is maybe the value of the firm, how the buy- in works, how voting shares work that's causing problems in not just succession, but it's also causing problems in an M&A deal, because some of the people do not want to invest into the firm with a partnership agreement that is, use the word one- sided, but it's not meant to be. It could just be out of date or it's missing components.