The PKF North American Network has started a Center for Exit Planning Excellence to help accounting firms advise aging business owners on options for what to do when they are ready to retire or move on.

The center is only open to accounting firms that are members of PKF’s accounting network, however. PKF NAN is an association of 86 independently owned public accounting firms that share educational, client service, technical and marketing resources, and expertise.

“As the closely held business owner’s most trusted business advisors, public accountants are the natural choice to provide exit-planning advisory services, and our new center was established to beef up their ability to deliver on this much-needed service,” said PKF NAN vice president Suzanne Verity.

She pointed out that exit planning is a natural link to accountants’ other core service offerings, such as business valuation, M&A, corporate finance, estate planning, financial planning and wealth management, consulting, and personal and corporate tax planning.

The wave of Baby Boomer retirements has just begun, with the oldest members of this group turning 63 this year. But the largest number of Boomers is just now approaching 50. Business owners in this age group will soon be considering how they can maximize the value of their companies, but many of them will not find suitable buyers or won’t be able to get the price they want because they haven’t taken the necessary steps to make sure the business is ready. Business owners tend to put off exit planning, which can be a complex process requiring long-range thought and planning. Most business owners have not done any exit planning, and often their “exit plan” consists of waiting for a buyer to approach the business.

Through the center, which was established in May, PKF NAN members will receive a base level of resources and support, including networking and knowledge sharing with peers. Members also have the option of going further by joining the Business Enterprise Institute, a PKF NAN partner, to access proprietary technology, marketing services, an ongoing professional development program and other resources.

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