Only 20 percent of all CPA firms make it to the second generation. Why? In short, firms suck at succession planning:

I’ve developed my own list of the most common, frustrating and nearly insolvable situations. Here’s one that’s on my short list: A multi-partner firm (usually five to 10 partners) has two distinct groups of partners: the drivers (usually the senior partners) and the newer partners (who struggle mightily to earn the confidence and trust of the senior partners and perform at their level). Resentment builds on both sides. The senior partners grow increasingly frustrated at the newer partners’ perceived inability to “be like me,” and gradually lose confidence in them. The newer partners experience this tension and become disenchanted when the senior partners don’t give them any love.

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