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2022 is the Year for Exit Planning

Submitted by Lisa Fannin on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 9:01am
2022 is the Year for Exit Planning

Ashley Blessing, CPA, Manager at Herbein & Co has been a CPA for over 12 years now. She was first introduced to Exit Planning through a BEI Boot Camp a few years back. Today, Ashley has a more personal and intimate relationship with her business owner clients as she assists them with planning for their future.  

When Ashley is not at the office supporting her business owner clients, she is chasing her two young children around in her home in Reading, Pennsylvania.  

Tell us about an unexpected challenge you have encountered working with business owners. How did it impact you or your practice and how did you overcome the problem?  


In my line of work, client relationships are especially important. Helping a business owner plan for the exit from their business is a very important and emotional decision.  

I recently began working with a client that was planning on passing down the ownership of their company to their children. During the planning of any family transfer, I have learned to tread lightly. Family dynamics can be very complex during any transition plan. I had to do various interviews with the family members to help decipher which Exit Path would be the most appropriate while keeping the family relationships intact.  

It wasn’t until I attended one of the BEI Boot Camps that I learned to bring in a business psychologist when working with a family transfer. Sometimes, it helps to have a licensed professional come in to help navigate through some fragile family dynamics.  

Do you have an example of an Exit Plan you recently worked on that made you appreciate the work you do?


I recently began working with a family business that was looking into an insider transfer. This business was not a 2nd generation transition, nor a third. This family business was planning to transition the ownership of their business to the 5TH GENERATION!  

This company just celebrated their 100th anniversary and family values were obviously particularly important to this organization. I felt so privileged to be invited to take on a project like this.  

This was a delicate plan since there were so many family members involved with opposing opinions. The current owner was now 70 years old, so we had to start making some decisions in the next few years.  

It is so gratifying working on Exit Plans like this. This business is obviously extremely important to this family, and I was grateful to have the pleasure of helping them protect the legacy of the business while maintaining strong family relationships. Plans like this keep me loving what I do. 

Do you see any shifts or changes going into the new year?  


As we enter 2022, I believe we will see some significant changes in the Exit Planning industry. I predict that the businesses that were gravely affected by COVID over the last few years won’t be sitting around waiting for the next pandemic. They are ready to start planning and they won’t be caught off guard again. These past few years were truly an eye-opening experience for many of us and I can guarantee that no business owner will want to go through the challenges that they faced during 2020 and 2021 again.  

I believe the Exit Planning industry is about to see its largest influx in a long time. Advisors and business owners alike now truly understand the importance of planning ahead. Time is finite. 

How has your involvement with BEI impacted your practice? What are your favorite resources? 


I love the BEI white papers! I use them all the time. I send them to just about every client before our initial meeting and throughout our relationship when they seem relevant to the conversations we have been having. I have most of the white papers saved directly on my desktop to quickly share with clients and prospects.  

The white papers get clients thinking about the process, their options, and their future. They are easy to read and digest and they allow my prospects and clients to marinate on a few different potential Exit Paths.  

These are great tools to just keep the ball moving and keep clients engaged.

How has adding Exit Planning to your practice broadened the work you do with business owners? 


After I was able to add Exit Planning to my practice, I realized I was adding even more value to my clients. I was able to take my client services a step further. Exit Planning is a very intimate and personal service that I was able to provide in addition to the existing work I already offered my clients.  

You really get to know your clients on a deeper level when you begin the Exit Planning Process with them. I felt more engaged and motivated to offer them the best possible solution when I got a deeper understanding of their values, family dynamics, goals, and aspirations.  

Do you have any advice for another advisor coming into the industry or struggling with a challenge you have faced in the past? 


Have patience. 

Planning to exit one’s business is one of the biggest decisions most business owners will make in their lifetime. For example, I have a client that I am working with now that started on their Exit Planning journey a few years ago. They are still not quite ready to pull the trigger and make any huge decisions but each day we get closer to making decisions. The more information I can provide this particular owner, the more confidence he has in his life-changing decisions.  

At the end of the day, they will greatly appreciate your patience when they have successfully transitioned out of their business and enjoining their next endeavor.  


If you too are like Ashley and would like to learn more about managing your clients’ Exit Plans and creating a process to ensure all their goals are met, check out our upcoming Exit Planning Boot Camps.   

And, If there are any specific topics you would like us to cover in 2022, send us a suggestion.  

Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date on all current Exit Planning news and trends.  


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