Managing a merger, bridging the generation gap and positioning a firm for acquisition

“Is there anything better than working alongside a brilliant yet humble young leader and his talented team? It’s no wonder they were snapped up by one of the most reputable CPA firms in the country. This small firm was eventually deemed valuable because they committed to a multi-year process of professionalizing – as individual leaders, as a leadership team and as a firm culture. That doesn’t just happen. It must be cultivated. Now, the transition into a larger professional organization, while still a big change, is less of a culture shock.”  

- SE

Client

Highly respected $5M CPA firm with 35 employees

Key Business Issues

Two local accounting firms merged and the new managing partner needed a plan for integrating and aligning firm leaders

Key Leadership Challenges

  • Needed to tactfully manage generational differences, egos and personality conflicts

  • Needed to initiate sensitive conversations about transition and succession with older partners

  • Needed to create a vision and culture that will attract talent, commit to excellence in client service, and position the firm for growth

Services Provided

  • Leadership coaching and development

  • Succession planning

  • Leadership team development

  • Senior team offsite design and facilitation

  • Culture development

Articulating the Value

Our work with Sherry was game-changing. We might have limped along for several years accommodating a senior partner.  Instead she brought clarity to our struggle and helped articulate his true desire to leave.

 

As CPAs and advisors, we are used to being a go-to resource for our clients. But behind the scenes, it can get dysfunctional, not knowing how to help ourselves.

 

When looking at the totality of Sherry’s work with our firm, it’s been invaluable. We’re accelerating. And this is not coincidental. We have more confidence and intention around how we want to be as a firm.

 

On a personal level, as managing partner and a younger leader, Sherry’s support to me through these tough decisions has helped me hone my skills and develop my confidence.

-- Managing Partner

Business & Human Impact

  • A senior partner retired in 9 months instead of the anticipated 3 years by using a thoughtful process that opened the door for the next generation of firm leadership

  • Minimal financial impact of retirements as a result of carefully considered client transition plans

  • Established new leadership team and facilitated first-ever annual partner retreat

  • Multi-year culture and leadership development positioned firm to be acquired by major west coast international firm

  • Managing partner positioned to become new managing partner of larger office

  • Greater career opportunities for all partners – and everyone kept their jobs

“Conflict management is a major victory. If you can get accountants to be collaborative, you have a market distinguishing position.”

“We get the recruits we want, client growth is happening, and the culture build is happening more purposefully because as leaders we are functioning at a higher level.”

“Sherry navigated the firm’s two generations expertly. We trusted her and the process. People are willing to be vulnerable with her, which speaks to one of her

greatest strengths.”  

Connect with me on LinkedIn

  • White LinkedIn Icon

© 2020 Sherry Essen