I work with CPAs and their firms. I visit many, many CPA firm websites on a continual basis. For many, it is definitely time to rebrand.
My clients and other CPAs I meet ask me, “What are other firms doing?” or “Can you give me a good example?”. Thanks to my friends at LBMC, headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, I can.
Here is a video about their new rebranding project.
LBMC is a very large firm and can afford to spend a lot more money than many other firms. That’s no excuse for you not to consider rebranding. You can do it! Establish a budget and go forward. It is one step in becoming a firm of the future.
If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.
You used to have to worry about your competitors luring away your younger accountants. After all, $5,000 to $10,000 more in compensation is quite tempting to someone fairly new in the job market.
During the current accounting firm talent wars, firms are pulling out all the stops to find and attract experienced talent. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that experienced accountants are now much more willing to jump ship. I believe there are various reasons for this, one being the fact that some more senior owners dig in their heels when it comes to change. Many of them don’t think they have to spend money to become a firm of the future because, after all, they will be retiring within the next several years.
If you are a 5 to 10-year CPA, even if you are a partner, you are probably being courted. If you are a niche leader you may even become the object of a bidding war.
The bigger firms are paying more for talented people. Smaller firms don’t seem to be as willing to keep pace. That’s what is interesting about the CPA firm model. The percentage that partners are very used to taking home might not be a sustainable model for the future. After all, if you have to pay your people more, it usually means the partners get less.
I am honored to be a member of the CPA Consultants’ Alliance, a group of management consultants serving the CPA profession. We join together to share trends and practices so that we can better serve our clients: CPA firms, their leaders and their teams.
We are pleased to release the findings of our Succession Survey. Here is our press release and a link to where you can download the article.
CPACA Releases New Succession Survey Findings – Firms struggle most with procrastination and lack of “bench strength”
Overland Park, KS, June 2015 – The CPA Consultants’ Alliance (CPACA), released the findings from their new succession survey in an article entitled CPA Firms Face Considerable Succession Challenges. With input from 337 mostly owner and non-equity partner respondents across a cross-section of small, medium and large firms, the survey indicates that firms have considerable challenges with succession. According to CPACA President and survey chairperson Terry Putney of Transition Advisors, “our profession has a long way to go to get ahead of the considerable wave of retirements facing us.”
Key survey findings conclude that firms:
• Are procrastinating or are in denial about succession with 26% of respondents citing “other priorities” as the reason succession planning gets short shrift in their firm and 51.7% blaming procrastination or denial.
• Lack significant “bench strength” to plan transition around, particularly at smaller firms. While 48% of responding partners in firms with 100-plus employees “definitely agree” their firm has adequate talent on hand, over half are not fully confident in their bench strength. Fewer than two-thirds of all responding partners in small firms say they have the right talent to replace retiring owners in the next five years, and one-third are not ready at all.
• Do not have a systematic way to identify and develop talent into future partners. Just under half of surveyed partners in midsize firms say they do not have a system in place for developing internal talent. 35% of all survey respondents indicate their firms do not have a system in place and are not working on one.
• Lack plans for client transition. Only 25% of firms have a client transition plan they are confident will work, although over 40% of those who do not have a plan in place say they are working on one.
• Are uncertain about their buy/sell arrangements. Nearly 25% of the large firm respondents and 50% of small firm respondents don’t know what their agreement says and more than 75% of all firm respondents lack complete confidence they can handle future partner retirement obligations.
• See a sale or merger as their most likely succession plan, which was indicated by half of the respondents in firms with less than 10 employees and one in five in firms with 10 to 24 employees.
“This survey’s purpose is to shed light on a topic that is clearly on the back-burner in firms. By highlighting the challenges and providing suggested solutions, we hope to help firm leaders take steps to plan for and execute transition,” continued Putney.
The CPACA was formed in 2012 with the purpose of exploring leadership issues facing the public accounting profession and developing and sharing solutions that benefit practitioners. Other insights from the group include the article What Drives Happiness at CPA Firms and the whitepaper CPA Firm Leadership: Communication Drives New Possibilities. The group’s vision is to inspire positive change in the CPA profession by collaboratively establishing tools and content that will educate, motivate and increase the wisdom of current and future leaders.
The CPACA’s members are successful consultants within the CPA profession. Members’ expertise includes CPA firm strategic and succession planning, leadership and management, growth, sales and marketing, information technology, human resources, coaching, mergers and acquisitions, diversity, leadership development and more.
For more information about The CPACA, its members and to stay connected, please:
David Morgan and Mike Cain have been the poster-children for co-managing partners in CPA firms and have built an amazing firm. They never disappoint when it comes to managing in a first-class style and this “Passing The Torch” video is just another example.
I have had the pleasure of knowing David and Mike personally and have benefitted from their experience and the example they set. Best wishes to Jeffery S. Drummonds, new Managing Partner of LBMC.
March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life's path.
Just a reminder that my monthly CPA firm MAP newsletter went out yesterday.
Each month I offer two articles focused on current topics and trends in the CPA profession and a short, third article about me and what I do to help firms with the minefield called “practice management”.
Articles this month:
Making Too Much Of Emerging & Future Leaders
A Message For Emerging Leaders: Experience Counts!
Struggling With “Firm Of The Future”? – Rita Can Help.
If you are a CPA in public practice or someone working with CPAs and didn’t receive a copy, you can sign-up here.
Here are a few headlines from Vault’s press release:
For the third straight year PwC ranks No. 1 in the Accounting 50—a ranking of the firms deemed “best to work for.” PwC also ranks No. 1 in Prestige for the seventh straight year.
Quality of life for accountants is getting better. At the Big 4 and across the industry, ratings in workplace categories such as hours, work/life balance, compensation, and overall satisfaction are rising. This underscores recent moves by the Big 4—PwC, EY, Deloitte, and KPMG—to create more congenial work environments for their employees.
Armanino and Plante Moran are the big winners in our Quality of Life categories, earning six No. 1 rankings each. California-based Armanino takes the top spot in Compensation, Hours, and Overall Satisfaction, among other categories. Michigan-based Plante Moran’s No. 1 rankings come in Work/Life Balance and Firm Culture, among others.
The Top 10 firms in the Vault Accounting 50 based on Vault’s annual Accounting Survey are:
Most of your firm’s clients probably fall into the category of “small business.” As you well know, these companies need lots of on-going support and guidance from their CPA.
The AICPA has launched a microsite: www.cpapowered.org to help these millions of small businesses around the country. The new site is FULL of valuable videos and resource guides beneficial to both new and experienced small business owners.
Be sure to check out the informational videos page. I especially like – Why a CPA! page.
Share this resource with your entire team and have them spread the word to your valuable clients.
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.