The greying of Accounting & Advisory firms has arrived, and it’s leaving a large leadership shortfall. On a national level, the number of CPA partners over the age of 50 rose to 64% in 2015, bringing these firms to a tipping point. Older partners are working later into their careers, and younger partners are working more hours. Staff aren’t seeing understandable career paths, causing a spike in turnover of more talented staff. At the same time, these firms have not built succession plans to fill approaching leadership gaps. The clock is ticking.
It’s time to address these challenges, fall prey to an upstream merger or risk going out of business. Here are some approaches to seriously consider:
- • Developing an overall strategic plan specifically tailored to address these issues
- • Building a new talent model that gives staff career progression guidance so they stick around to become future leaders
- • Developing different new partner roles focused on client service, business development and technical expertise
- • Designing “off-ramps” for older partners, giving them the option of fewer hours for less pay to make room for new partners from the staff ranks
- • Implementing mentoring programs for staff, including lots of experiential learning in front of clients
- • Developing succession plans for leaders in anticipation of future needs
- • Revamping the firm’s partner admission criteria and process to recognize the skill sets of the future that partners will need
- • Using coaching and simulation workshops to help partners and senior staff develop the softer skills that are critical in today’s business world
The good news is that it’s not too late to take these steps. But please don’t wait much longer. Tock, tock, tick, tock.