More than 80 percent of firms do not have a documented succession plan, according to a recent survey from PCPS, the American Institute of CPAs' firm membership section.

Knowing that many CPA firm owners will be retiring before 2010, the PCPS has issued a new white paper, called "Preparing For Transition: The State of Succession Planning and How to Handle the Process in Your Firm." The paper was developed with an outside consultant and members of the PCPS Executive Committee.

The paper summarizes the results of the 2004 PCPS Succession Planning Survey, which included nearly 500 CPA firm respondents and offers practitioners insight into how other firms handle succession planning, as well as providing an opportunity to benchmark progress.

Key findings in the 13-page paper also include:

  • Of those who did not have a plan, half said that they intended to start the process soon, while 22 percent did not see the need for one.
  • Nearly one-third of firms revealed they had never managed the issue, and another third said they were in the process of trying to address the issue.
  • Nearly all sole practitioners (92 percent) do not have a practice continuation agreement in place.

The paper is available on the PCPS Web site at, under "Resources."

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