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1. Who Would Run Your Firm?  

BY Joel Sinkin and Ira Rosenbloom, CPA
There comes a time when every sole practitioner or small firm owner needs to consider the consequences of a disruption in leadership of his or her CPA practice. Illness, disability, family obligation or death can be devastating for the CPA’s clients, family and employees. Proper planning, however, can mitigate the consequences.

2. CPAs Share Continuation Strategies  

Editor's note: Also read "Who Would Run Your Firm?" Feb. 2011, page 40. In August 1988, 48-year-old CPA Jim Feigel was in an accident that left him in a coma for 23 days. “If anything ever happens to me, the first thing you should do is sell the practice,” he recalled telling his wife, Janice, well before the accident.

3. Capture and Share Firm Expertise  

BUSINESS TIPSIn a recent CCH survey, accounting firms associated several benefits with having formal knowledge management programs, such as an increase in efficiency (76%), productivity (63%) and revenue (62%) and an improvement in client service (69%). These firms were also more likely to follow other management best practices, including: Using a database for knowledge sharing Conducting regularly scheduled training on knowledge management systems Deploying supporting technology to further knowledge initiatives The survey found, however, that only 36% of firms have established these programs.

4. Best Practice: Continuation Plans  

What would happen if you were unable to work for an extended period of time? Practice continuation plans are essential for CPAs. They ensure clients are taken care of and preserve the value of a practice, especially for small to medium-size firms, if an owner or sole practitioner falls ill.

5. Buy-Sell Agreements: Ticking Time Bombs or Reasonable Resolutions?  

BY Kim Nilsen
by Z. Christopher Mercer, ASA, CFA Peabody Publishing LP, 2007, 324 pp. Predicting the future is practically impossible. For businesses, that uncertainty makes planning crucial. Z. Christopher Mercer offers a granular look at one method of applying present tense solutions to future decisions and transitions. Mercer examines the world of buy-sell agreements, which establish a mechanism for the purchase of equity interests following the death of one of the owners of an entity or some other major or adverse change in a business environment.

6. An Antidote to Excess  

A recent study by Institutional Shareholder Services found CEO succession planning, which many public company boards have adopted over the past three years, to be a key practice in reducing excessive executive and golden parachute payments. The study suggests that without a succession plan in place, a board can become desperate to hire an outsider and is then more willing to offer a “candy store of incentives.” Index Group Percentage of companies with a board-approved CEO succession plan, Jan.

7. Weather Any Storm  

BY Anita Dennis
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Sound contingency plans can prevent or minimize damage in a crisis. Although natural disasters are the most obvious and dramatic, firms also should be prepared to resume business after a fire or theft, or the loss of a key firm member. Business continuation insurance can pay for time lost from client work to manage the disaster response.

8. Katrina’s Harsh Lessons.  

BY Randy Myers
Those of us who lived through Hurricane Katrina’s devastation in the Gulf states also experienced countless acts of kindness. We want to acknowledge that tremendous outpouring of support. We regret we don’t have the space to recognize individually the thousands of stories of helpfulness and courage. —Grady Hazel, executive director, Society of Louisiana CPAs ike thousands of her former neighbors, CPA Geralyn Suhor, president of the New Orleans chapter of the Society of Louisiana CPAs, is a Hurricane Katrina refugee.

9. The Best-Laid Plans   CPEDirect

BY Ed McCarthy
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY DISASTER ARE UNPREDICTABLE , and one disruption may cause others, so a firm should test its preparedness plan to make sure it will do what it’s supposed to: locate the firm’s people, obtain equipment and support, access job-file and system backups and put staff to work in an alternate location.

10. Before the Deluge—and After  

BY Sarah Phelan, Michael Hayes
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY BEING ABLE TO REACH STAFF IS PARAMOUNT during and directly after a disaster. To communicate while power and telephone lines are down, a firm can use public service radio announcements to give out phone numbers where employees can get information. ORGANIZE BUSINESS RECOVERY TEAMS AND DETERMINE the resources needed to recover headquarters, computer operations and the disaster site.
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