Ownership Agreements Articles

Who’s responsible for what, when, where & how?

Are Non-compete Agreements Now Unenforceable?

Originally published in AccountingToday July 2021
Does an executive order make the restictive covenants that most accounting firms rely on to perfect the value of a transaction between a buyer and a seller or owner and firm unenforceable?
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Four Items that Should be in Every Firm’s Ownership Agreement

Originally published in AccountingToday September 2018
Most ownership agreements contain the critical basic terms you need to have. While there are many aspects to drafting a strong ownership agreement, we find four items missing all too often.
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Why is Your Firm Worth Less Than You Think?

Originally published in AccountingToday, March 2019
The rule of thumb in today’s market is that internal valuations (defined as a multiple of revenues) are running roughly about 80 percent of the value firms can expect to receive in an outright sale.
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The Flawed Economics of Admitting New Partners

Originally published in AccountingToday, August 2018
If you have ever bought a practice off the street, you know you can’t keep paying the seller their historical level of full-time compensation and pay for the practie purchase at the same time. Yet many internal purchase arrangements are set up under the same flawed economics.
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How to Admit New Partners: A Fresh Approach

Originally published in Journal of Accountancy December 2015
The AAV method can help accounting firms find the right formula for bringing in new owners on terms everyone can live with.
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Retaining Clients During a Firm Transition

Originally published as a chapter in the ebook, Next Level Accountants: Your Guide to Growing a Firm of Trusted Advisors by Mary Ellen Biery. 
If you’d like to download the complete book, visit Sageworks.com
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How to Price an Owner’s Interest in a CPA Firm

Originally published in the Journal of Accountancy, December 2014
Dramatically different demographic and market conditions require new strategies to pay for buyouts.
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Managing Owner Transition Through an Owners’ Agreement

Originally published in the Journal of Accountancy, March 2014
For accounting firms dealing with partner succession, the owners’ agreement can be one of the most important tools for (1) managing the transition of ownership and (2) establishing a culture for owner performance. Managing the transition of ownership is usually the reason a firm drafts an agreement in the first place. Often, establishing a culture for owner performance is an accidental outcome of how the agreement was structured, and unintended consequences can result if care isn’t taken to understand this.
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How to Manage Internal Succession

Originally published in the Journal of Accountancy, February 2014
The success of most accounting firm succession plans rests on the firm’s ability to develop young talent into owners capable of buying out retiring partners and carrying the firm into the future. Unfortunately, many firms have little or no talent ready to assume this role, and many of the firms that do have talented staff on board don’t know how to convert them into owners.
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Planning and Paying for Partner Retirement

Originally published in Journal of Accountancy by the AICPA April 2012
John was one of three founding partners in a firm formed 35 years ago. He oversaw the buyout of the other two founding partners and, as managing partner, groomed three young managers as his successors. However, when the time came for these managers to be admitted as partners, two of them declined, citing their reluctance to take on John’s buyout. What went wrong?
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Succession Planning–Valuing Partner Equity in Larger Firms

Originally published in the CPA Practice Management Forum, December 2009
Succession planning is the foundation that creates a successful transition of client relationships. This article discusses how to capture and measure the value of the firm when buying out retirement minded partners.
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Succession Planning: The Available Strategies and How They work

Originally published in the CPA PRACTICE MANAGEMENT FORUM, a monthly journal published by CCH, a Wolters Kluwer business, October 2009 
With the aging of the Baby Boomers, succession planning remains an integral part of looking to the future. This article discusses how to manage partner transition within the firm and how to determine if you have what it takes to execute an internal succession plan as well as options if you cannot.
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Replacing Retiring Partners

Originally published in The CPA Journal, October 2009
The gap between accounting firm owners’ need for successors and the available pool of partner-level talent will continue to widen due to demographic changes as baby boomers age and retire to be replaced by a smaller cohort. This is probably the single most important long-term issue facing small and medium-sized firms. This article walks you through the considerations in addressing retirement minded partners.
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