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. Here are some tips on how to get a plan started:

Create a list of resources and phone numbers , including your professional liability insurance carrier, state and local CPA societies and their member crisis hotlines, utility providers and facility managers.

Assemble a set of operating documents , divided into sections including client lists, profile of proprietorship (executives, location of accounting records, contracts and bank accounts), procedures to monitor ongoing work, and the location of workpapers, personnel files and billing schedules.

Decide on the type of continuation arrangement: one-on-one (usually a buy-sell agreement); group (several CPAs act as successors/partners to each other’s firms); or state society plan (local societies or MPA committees assist in finding a successor).

Identify and partner with a suitable firm by receiving referrals from CPA societies, bankers, attorneys or community groups.

Implement the plan by writing instructions for all involved parties with your attorney and setting dates for annual plan reviews.

For additional resources or detailed guidance, refer to the AICPA Management of an Accounting Practice Handbook or “ Have a Fallback Plan,” JofA , Sept. 03, page 57.

Source: CAMICO Mutual Insurance Co., .


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