With a wave of senior partners graying and a shortage of younger CPA professionals ready to take their place, the importance of creating - and maintaining - a succession plan for a firm's future is becoming more urgent than ever.It may seem obvious to design a plan to keep the business of a firm going strong, but according to a 2006 survey conducted by the Private Companies Practice Section of the American Institute of CPAs and the Texas Society of CPAs' National Management of an Accounting Practice, 76 percent of the 1,842 participating firms reported that they had no documented succession plans.

Those numbers are especially striking since 74 percent of AICPA members were already over 40 in 2006, a leap from 1993, when 47 percent of institute members were in that age demographic.

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