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The importance of succession planning for professional firms

It is fairly common for successful law or accountancy firms to be built around the personalities of their founders. Often, the founders will have been driven by their visions as they built the businesses into successful practices that bring clients and attract talent.

When it is time for the founder to either retire or to move on, succession planning will be key in whether or not the firm is able to continue existing and being successful. There are several important questions that should be asked in order to drive the planning process.

People should begin by asking what will happen to the business once the founder has left, and who will fill the founder's shoes moving the firm forward. They should also think about what can be done to continue attracting the type of star employees that will help to continue driving the firm's success. People should think about how to plan in a way that will keep loyal clients coming back during and after the succession. Figuring out the timing for when the succession plan will be initiated in advance of the departure is also important. Putting plans in place to transition the firm smoothly may then help the business to continue uninterrupted.

Business owners may want to meet with business law attorneys for advice about succession planning. Without a plan in place, the loss of the firm's leader could create a power vacuum and lead to the firm's dwindling or closing. Attorneys can help their clients with identifying the key personnel who will aid the firm through its succession phase. They can also help clients to think about the various problems that might occur and planning for what to do if they happen.

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