The Private Companies Practice Section membership section of the American Institute of CPAs has launched an initiative aimed at helping CPA firms address succession planning issues that includes a number of resources slated to debut within the next two months.

"For many of these CPAs, the practice they have spent years building is both their most valuable asset as well as and their retirement vehicle," said James Metzler, AICPA vice president for small firm interests.  "Through the PCPS succession initiative, we will help small firms prepare for the future and manage the transition from one generation of owners to the next."

While 60 percent of CPA firms today have owners in the 55-to-62-year-age bracket, and more than half (56 percent) of the firms have at least one partner retiring in the next five years, the vast majority (81 percent) don't have a written succession plan in place, according to a 2004 PCPS research study. That proportion rises to 96 percent among firms with annual revenues under $150,000.

Succession planning resources include a book by CPA firm consultant Bill Reeb, titled, "Securing the Future: Building a Succession Plan for Your Firm," which will be available in July, and a related CPE course - "Succession Planning: Strategies to Protect the Value of Your Firm."

Two Web casts, Positioning Your Firm for Successful Transition and Strategies to Facilitate Transition and Increase Firm Value, are also planned. 

In addition, succession planning will be a special track at the AICPA Practitioners' Symposium conference June 6 - 8 and the topic will be spotlighted this summer at additional AICPA conferences around the country.

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