Have you talked to a lawyer lately?

When was the last time you thought about your firm ownership documents?  Twenty years ago, 10 years ago, maybe never?

Recently, I attended a CPE session at AICPA Engage about legal issues in CPA firms.   It got me thinking about my future, and more importantly, about the present and what important legal documents need to be updated in my firm.

Being a Radical CPA is about confronting challenging situations that allow your firm to evolve.

Now, I know what you are thinking. Oh, I’ve got it covered from a tax perspective.   But have you synced up with a lawyer to create or update your partnership agreement, your key employee agreements, and your contractor agreements to reflect your firm today?

Have you thought about how your firm has evolved since you started your business?

Is it possible that maybe you haven’t given it the legal attention it deserves?

Now, I’ll be extremely honest with you and tell you that realigning my corporate structure to reflect my current goals has been on my mind for a while. Yet, I haven’t reached out to my attorney customers or even outside counsel.

Why not?

Because it’s not the document that is creating the internal havoc in my own mind.

It’s the uncomfortable conversations with the parties involved that were making me drag my feet into taking action.  Uncomfortable conversations seem to halt most action.

We all know that legal documents usually aren’t needed until there is a problem.   But you must address the difficult conversations, the difficult issues, and the issue of change upfront so that you can a create a document that reflects and allows for settled perspectives.

This is the hard part.

Also, sometimes when you are the person who usually facilitates these conversations it can be hard to step back and select the correct person to help you define what is important in your firm. It’s probably not your general counsel attorney down the block.  You want someone who understands firm dynamics.

Someone who knows CPAs, who gets we are a squirrely bunch.

Someone who has seen your issue a hundred times before.

Someone who has executed firm mergers and acquisitions and understands how to set them up for success years before they happen.  A specialist.

Well, I was lucky enough to find the specialist, Peter Fontaine, of NewGate Law. Peter helped bring some clarity to restructuring my firm for our future.   And by having that first conversation, it allowed me to get out of my own head and talk with the key members of my firm to get the process moving in the correct direction. The conversations were less difficult than I had anticipated.

You know one of my favorite mantras is “the world has changed.”

Have you updated your legal documents to reflect how your world has changed?

Trust me, your own fear is worse than the actual process.

So, what are you waiting for?

 

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