There’s a funny thing about high school and college reunions: when we arrive, we’re shocked at how old everyone looks. We can pretend that we’re not aging, but we can’t escape the fact that we’re growing a little older every day. Retirement may not be in our immediate plans, but it’s constantly creeping closer.

The same funny thing applies to your firm’s clients. With each year, they’re getting older, too. Some may have already retired, and if your practice has a large client base, a certain percentage of your clients will die in the coming year. If we want to be nicer and more businesslike about it, we can refer to this as attrition. No matter what we call it, though, it raises a serious question for your practice: can your client base survive old age?

If your clients are overwhelmingly getting older, your practice is aging, too. Have you started actively seeking out younger clients to replace the ones you’re losing through attrition? Are you and your staff ready to meet the needs and expectations of younger clients? Do you have the technology and expertise that today’s clients demand? Is it time to consider selling your practice or consolidating with another CPA’s operations?

If you haven’t already done so, analyze your client list and current prospects to determine their average age. If a disparate share of your clients is nearing the “golden years,” it’s time to get to work to protect your practice’s future. After all, when it’s your turn to retire, you want to make sure the practice you’ve spent years building is worth all that hard work.

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