The Power of Succession Planning in Accounting and Finance

The Power of Succession Planning in Accounting and Finance

When running a business, especially in the ever-evolving accounting and finance sector, it’s crucial to plan for the future. In this context, one vital aspect of strategic business planning is often overlooked: Succession Planning.

But what is succession planning, and why is it so important? 58% are 40+ years old and the average age of partners in CPA firms in the United States is between 52 and 53 years old

Let’s delve into the topic and explore some steps that can help your business establish a successful succession plan.

Understanding Succession Planning

Succession planning is a strategy for identifying and developing future leaders at your company. It’s about creating a pipeline of talented individuals who can step into key roles when current leaders leave, retire, or are unable to perform their duties. In accounting and finance, where precision and strategic thinking are paramount, having a strong succession plan is especially critical.

Why Is Succession Planning Important?

Without a well-planned succession strategy, a company risks business disruption, loss of knowledge, and decreased employee morale in the event of an unexpected leadership change. On the other hand, an effective succession plan contributes to a smooth transition, ensuring business continuity and even increasing valuations.

Effective succession planning is estimated to increase company valuations and investor returns for large-cap U.S. firms by 20-25%. This highlights the potential impact of succession planning on company profitability.

7 Steps to Effective Succession Planning

  1. Identify Key Positions: Identify the crucial roles within your organization that would require immediate filling upon the incumbent’s departure. In finance and accounting, these roles could range from CFO to financial analyst positions.
  2. Define Required Skills and Competencies: For each identified position, list the necessary skills, knowledge, and competencies required. Think of technical proficiencies, leadership skills, strategic thinking, or knowledge of specific accounting regulations.
  3. Identify Potential Candidates: Look within your organization for individuals showing the potential and ambition to step into these key roles. Early identification allows time for further development and grooming for leadership.
  4. Develop Training and Development Programs: Invest in your identified successors through targeted training programs, mentoring, and opportunities for growth. These might include leadership development programs, cross-departmental projects, or even further education support for areas like advanced financial legislation.
  5. Implement Succession Development Plans: Assign each potential successor a personalized development plan that aligns with the competencies required for their potential future role. Regularly review and adjust these plans as required.
  6. Review and Update the Succession Plan Regularly: A succession plan should be dynamic and adaptable to the changing business landscape, personnel changes, and evolving job roles. Regular reviews ensure your plan remains relevant and effective.
  7. Communicate the Plan: Ensure your team understands the succession plan. Clear communication reduces uncertainty and provides motivation by illustrating potential career progression opportunities within the company.


In the fast-paced world of finance and accounting, being prepared for changes in key leadership positions is crucial for maintaining business continuity and stability. Implementing an effective succession plan might seem like a daunting task, but by following these seven steps, you’ll be well on your way to securing your organization’s future leadership – and success.

Contact us to learn more.


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