Partners face age crisis

Independent accountancy firms are facing an age crisis as retirement approaches and partners fear they will be unable to find adequate successors for their practices.

The survey, conducted by KATO Consultancy last week, revealed a majority of respondents, who were over 46, wish to remain independent and over 85% wish to recruit within their firms. But firms are also experiencing difficulties in recruiting appropriate professional staff.

The second most popular alternative means of securing succession was merging or acquiring a firm, with recruitment from another practice or industry viewed as other options.

Phil Shohet, managing director of KATO, said the issues of succession and demands from clients must be resolved quickly as many practices wish to remain independent. ‘The profession, because of age difficulties, is at a crossroads at the moment,’ he said.

Shohet added that although many firms wish to remain independent, ‘some will be driven into the arms of other firms because they cannot cater to their top end clients’.

The survey also showed a majority of respondents are concerned about the funding of partners’ retirements.

For advice on succession in the independent firm see

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