Why CPAs Don’t Plan for Their Own Retirement

November 2007

Following are what I believe are the major reasons why CPAs that should be planning for succession simply are not:

Don’t want to give up control, be “managed” -  A very valid concern. Someone is going to be the new firm leader and that simply has to be accepted.  The right merger partner will be very good at smoothing the transition.

Say they cannot find the right fit -  It’s certainly not easy, but this is usually an indication of lack of preparation or motivation.

Can make more money by not selling -  Somewhat true in the short run ,  but the practice will be ultimately sold well below market by waiting until there is a crisis like death or disability.     

Don’t have time -  This is a smokescreen. We all make time for that which we think is important.

Fear of change -  This is very real and may be the number one reason.

Don’t have any other interests besides work -  I think it is critically important for CPAs to take the time and sit down with their closest advisors, friends or family and map out a long term plan. Equally important is to create and begin executing an action plan as in almost all cases, this is a lengthy process.

Robert Fligel

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