Choosing a successor.

The search for a suitable person to take over your practice may not be easy. It takes time to find a practitioner or firm whose operating philosophy and general management style are compatible with your own, and it is best that the successor have a sound reputation, be competent, ethical and can buy your practice without becoming overburdened. Here are some very important qualifications you should look for in the person or firm with whom you choose to enter into a practice continuation agreement.

Personal Qualifications

  Has organizational and planning skills.

  Properly monitors and controls engagements.

  Is technology minded.

  Has a good client satisfaction record.

  Can train and develop staff.

  Can generate fees and has knowledge of the value of the firm's services.

  Maintains professional responsibility.

  Shows leadership within the firm.

  Has good oral and written presentation skills.

  Has good relationships with colleagues and clients.

Firm Qualifications

  Recently underwent a peer review.

  Ensures firm personnel maintain a professional appearance.

  Has a good firm image.

  Exhibits good growth potential.

  Staff exhibits mixture of personality-types and various levels of expertise.

  Fees are billed and collected on a timely basis.

  Principals and staff are recognized as community leaders.

  New clients are brought in from personal contacts.

  Staff shows professional participation and leadership.

Source: Adapted from Practice Continuation Agreements , by John A. Eads, American Institute of CPAs. Copyright © 1992.


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