The difference between a rhetorical question and a survey question is someone answers. Before we find out what type of question my title is, here’s why I posed it. Firms find about how other firms operate in a number of ways. It might be from contact with partners in other firms; via membership in groups, organizations, or societies; by hiring consultants; or possibly by reading about other firms in professional publications.

The decision on whether to implement a firm change, especially a strategic change, is usually made by the managing partner or at an executive committee or partner meeting. The discussion and implementation of strategic and important operational changes are often covered at the firm’s annual retreat, sometimes with the aid of a professional facilitator or consultant.

In the case of a sole practitioner, I would guess the process is a little different. I wonder if sole practitioners ever hold annual retreats with other sole practitioners.
The attendees would seem to have the same issues and concerns. For example, Martin Shenkman, in his new book Life Cycle Planning for the CPA Practice: Practical Strategies and Forms, points out the importance for a sole practitioner to have a practice continuation agreement in place so if he or she becomes disabled (whether temporarily or permanently), another CPA or CPA firm can take over so the value of the sole practitioner’s practice is protected pending a sale or return to practice.

A retreat would be perfect place to work out agreements between sole practitioners to cover for each other if either became disabled. A multitude of other strategic and operational issues particular to sole practitioners could also be covered. Because there would be a number of practitioners involved, a consultant might be then affordable and hired to assist.  

So the question is: Do any sole practitioners reading this column attend such an annual retreat?


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