Summer Technology Tips For Accountants – Part 1

The 2015 tax season is fading in your rear view mirror. Sure there are some extensions to be worked on (we’ll deal with this topic in a future post) and general clean up to do, but now is the time to kick back, relax and enjoy the long, lazy days and cool, magical nights of summer.

We all know that’s not happening, so how should you spend your summer (non) vacation? In this first installment we will offer some thoughts about staffing.

Sageworks recently published an interesting survey about CPA firms. Here are two statistics that caught our eye:

  • 61% of partners are age 50 or older
  • Senior / manager level attrition ranges from 10 – 35% each year

What do you think when you see these numbers? Here’s a typical response:

“Succession planning is a fundamental issue that many firms are struggling with today. It’s likely that you are currently considering options for that now. And turnover is going to happen as your more experienced staff get offers in private industry and look to do something different.”  

We think you should look at these numbers a little differently – and in doing so take some action to make your firm more stable, scalable and valuable..

Here’s our first recommendation for a high value project to undertake this summer: plan and build a database of the institutional knowledge of you firm.

When we look at the numbers above we obviously see the churn, but more importantly we recognize that institutional knowledge is leaving the firm as well. Those retiring partners want the firm to succeed post retirement and one of the ways to guarantee that is to capture their specific expertise before they walk out the door. Capturing this knowledge before they leave ensures the firm can leverage this experience in future engagements.

The same logic applies to your seniors and managers. They may not have the depth of experience as your partners, but their knowledge of specific clients and processes must remain with the firm.

Institutional knowledge is a high value asset to the firm. What does it take to get started? It’s easier than you think!