News“Filling Your Shoes” - Robert Fligel Talks Succession Planning with Accounting Today

Accounting Today asked CPA firm advisor, Robert Fligel, for his thoughts on succession planning – an area that Fligel’s company, RF Resources, specializes in.

“Most firms don’t have any plan,” he says. “Even to do a memo would be a major accomplishment.”

When you couple the widespread lack of succession planning with Fligel’s own research, which indicates that 1 in 5 NY Metro area accounting firms will change hands in the next five years, you have a serious problem.  Many firms are not prepared for the inevitable:  change.

With respect to scouting out up-and-coming leaders and grooming potential successors, Fligel believes that communication is key.  “The lack of communication can be dangerous.  You look at partners in their 60s, and if they don’t tell you something, you’re going to think the worst.”

Fligel believes that partners play a critical role in engaging, helping to retain and helping to prepare younger staff for a leadership trajectory.  “For every partner, part of the job is knowing they have a successor,” he said. “They should all be grooming somebody.”

Of course, there are emotional aspects to preparing a succession plan. “It’s human nature; we don’t want to deal with mortality because it’s a very daunting thing,” said Fligel. “But there’s a fantastic sense of relief when you do these things. And you should think about your clients - you don’t want to leave them in a lurch.”

Robert Fligel

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