NORTH BAY – Staffing firm Robert Half surveyed chief financial officers, and 83 percent said they have not identified a succession plan for their position.

According to Michael Lusby, regional vice president of the firm, 81 percent of those 83 percent said they are not looking to leave any time soon and therefore may not see the benefits of succession plan.

“But to have a seamless business transition, you need a pipeline of capable in-house employees ready to take over the business.”

He said it helps to identify top talent and hire those people, so any growth is possible.

“We think it is a critical thing to do,” said Mr. Lusby.

Firms should identify positions that are critical and never have an open chair, he said. They should also determine what senior level managers may leave, identify which mid-level managers can step into those roles, search for high potential candidates and try to work them into positions with growth potential.

“Hiring the right people to be able to groom into roles tomorrow will ultimately help a company stay afloat in this environment,” he said.

“The biggest point about succession planning is nobody is doing it, and everyone needs to,” said Mike Musson, audit and accounting partner at Linkenheimer CPAs and Advisors.

“When your business is scraping by and you need your cash, it may not make sense to spend money on a succession plan. But when the market turns around, and it will turn around, you need to know what your steps for healthy growth will be,” he said.

But, he said, “If you think of it like sports, while somebody is your quarterback now, you know who you’re looking at for your next few quarterbacks.”