KristaRemercolorcloseup The AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section (PCPS) group has again conducted a survey in which they asked their members to reveal their most significant struggles.  The PCPS “Top Issues” lists are published based on firm size – from sole practitioners to 21 or more professionals.  There were differences in the results based on firm size, but each list included issues related to growth, bringing in new clients, and retaining current clients.

The top five issues for those with 11 to 20 professionals and 21 or more professionals differed only by one issue!

The top issues for those with 21 or more professionals and some resources to address them are presented below in descending order:

5.  Developing a Succession Plan – It’s no surprise that succession planning made the “top issues” list for so many CPA practitioners (it was number four for the 11-20 professionals group) as over 76 million Baby Boomers look to retire and the need for leadership development looms.  Read two articles on succession in our latest e-newsletter at

4.  Fee Pressure/Pricing of Services –Pricing of services is a major factor for those working to retain current clients (see number three!).  Read our blog on pricing for some strategies that your firm can employ.  Then, don’t forget to determine and market your competitive differentiators to ensure that your firm stands out among the rest.

3.  Retention of Current Clients - Competition among firms has been heating up with the economic downturn and slow recovery.  There are a number of ways to keep your firm at the forefront, including implementing some simple client service ideas and getting to know your clients – and their needs – at a deeper level.  Read our article in the TSCPA Public Practice E-News for more information about deepening your client relationships.

2.  Bringing in New Clients – To bring in new clients, you must obviously market to them.  But how and where?  For ideas, read our blog on promotion (the final P in the “5 P’s of Marketing”), but don’t forget to start at the beginning with positioning and identifying your firm’s  product/service mix.  Then evaluate your pricing and establish place, or where you will choose to market.  If you want to bring in new clients, consider how you can differentiate your services by choosing a niche and positioning yourself as an expert in that area or industry. 

1.  Partner Accountability/Unity – If each of the spokes on a wheel decided to go in a different direction and didn’t act as part of a “team,” where would the wheel go?  Nowhere!  Our web seminar summer series is dedicated to this common issue, and there’s still time to attend the last two events!  Go to to register.  And, read our article in  The Practicing CPA and our blog regarding holding your team accountable for more tips on this topic.

So, what keeps you up at night?  Does the PCPS list mirror your firm’s worries?  See how your issues compare to firms your size by reading the article and survey results on the AICPA PCPS web site.

Please post a comment and start a discussion! 

Warm regards,


Krista Remer


P.S. The number five issue for those firms with 11 to 20 professionals was “Finding Qualified Staff (at all levels).”  Check out our new Human Resources Recruiting Toolset at for a host of resources to help with this growing need.