Accounting Firm Succession: Will You Have to Sell or Merge?

The CPA profession is a tremendous opportunity for young professionals to buy into. Income levels are high and the demand for the services will never end. Many of the mergers and acquisitions that occur are due to either a non-existent, incomplete, or failed succession. A key member leaves or the succession team did not understand or agree to the buy in value.

In this webinar, Bob and Doug Lewis will show firms how to assess if a succession is possible and how to design and test a succession plan. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the obstacles that make succession plans fail
  • Outline steps to put a firm in control of their succession plan
  • Evaluate why a firm might conduct an internal succession, elect to merge upward; or sell

About Bob Lewis

President, The Visionary Group

Bob is one of Accounting Today's Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting. His focus is to build the Enterprise Value of CPA Firms using a process of mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, and refinement of a firm’s organic growth decisions. He has been exclusively supporting the CPA profession for 25 plus years and collaborates with firms of any size including a few of the largest firms in the country.

For firms looking to explore M&A, his team has a search process to identify tuck-ins or platform locations to build upon. Candidates can be CPA firms and non-accounting businesses such as tech companies, specialty management consultants, VARs, or other businesses. Bob and his team identify practices not up for sale or merger yet and manage the deal cycle from start through negotiations and closure.

Organic growth and firm succession are two areas Bob helps firm navigate. Organically, Bob acts as the Chief Growth or Advisory Officer for CPA firms. In these roles he collaborates with leadership to shape the firm’s vision to refine their future organic growth, expand advisory capabilities, and use M&A as a focused growth catalyst. He helps firms analyze underperforming clients and instills a focused growth process. From a succession perspective, many firms want to preserve their legacy. Bob designs partnership buy-ins, compensation structures, multi-layered incentive goals, and trains newer partners.

Bob is a frequent speaker nationally, at local events, and in individual firms. He was an accountant and has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and an MBA, both from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. 

About Doug Lewis

Director, The Visionary Group

Doug is a Director at The Visionary Group responsible for the overall success of Visionary’s Mergers & Acquisitions sector. He specializes in conducting M&A searches from inception, through onboarding and final closing of transactions. Doug leads our candidate firm profiling, development of targets, assessing the potential candidate fits, and deal structure & negotiations. 

A major component of his role is to facilitate structured and fair opportunities for all parties involved in M&A transactions. He spends the majority of his time speaking with Managing Partners, CEOs, and other key leadership positions inside CPA firms and non-accounting organizations. His focus is to increase deal flow and overcome obstacles as they arise during the M&A process. Doug has a proven track record of successfully establishing relationships with industry leaders to think outside the box when conducting M&A related activities. The balance of his time is spent on building a strategic partnership network of trusted consultants and advisors. 

Prior to joining The Visionary Group, Doug spent time in key client-facing roles in the professional sports and the startup technology industries. In these roles, he was responsible for leading several different sales, marketing, and account management campaigns catered towards Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Illinois State University.

This webinar is part of our Redefining Value webinar series. View the other virtual events and learn more about this series.

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