Choose an experienced and Qualified Professional – A professional accounting broker can increase the buyer pool and create more of a desire for your practice. Everyone understands the theory of supply and demand. In the accounting practice sales industry, there are many more buyers than sellers. If you are trying to sell on your own, it will be difficult to market your practice while keeping your confidentiality from your staff, competition and most importantly clients. While it is true there is a fee for hiring a broker, in the end they will likely net you a larger price at closing. It really makes sense to let them help you and do all the work to sell your practice especially if they can increase the price and fatten your wallet.
Choose a specialized broker מורת יוגה to assist you in selling your accounting practice – There are brokers out there that are dedicated to the accounting practice sales profession and understand the market. A general business broker selling franchises, gas stations, etc. may not understand the accounting profession and may not fully comprehend all the important factors that go into selling an accounting practice.
Position Your Practice To sell – Make sure that your office is clean an organized. Everyone knows about first impressions. If your office is disorderly and dirty, this can be perceived negatively by the buyer even before they have said a word to you or looked more closely at your financial records.
Set Realistic Price & Terms – Most accounting practices are sold based on a client retention clause. Sellers may want to sell their practice based on a fixed price but generally that will not happen. The buyer is looking for some reassurances that the seller is not just interested in the money and is also interested in the clients and new buyers needs. There are some buyers that will not even entertain a fixed asking price. This will also shrink your buyer pool. If the buyer is qualified and a good fit for the practice, there should be minimal client drop off during the transition period.
Organize Your Financial Records – A firm that has current financials will appear to the buyer as organized and will help them in justifying the asking price and moving forward with the purchase. This will also allow them to tie back their projections with what is really going on. Being able to tie the financials back to the tax return will be part of the due diligence phase, but it will alleviate a lot of headaches and save a lot of time down the road. You can have an oral agreement or letter of intent from a buyer but without proper due diligence and accurate financial records, the buyer may walk. This means the seller and buyer have wasted precious time and closed off negotiations with other possible buyers.
Business As Usual – We always urge our clients to maintain a “business as usual” approach during the selling process. Typically an accounting practice will sell in anywhere from 3 to 6 months. During this time, the seller needs to continue to run their business as if nothing has changed. If the staff or clients get whiff of a potential sell, it could be disastrous for the firm and the future of the firm. This is another key aspect where hiring a broker can really help. They will be marketing your practice and discussing it with potential buyers without your input allowing you to save time and focus on your business. There are many hours involved in selling your accounting practice and if you are already working a 40-50 hour work week, this will only add to that time.
Keep your Options Open – Many sellers have a preconceived idea of who they think their buyer will be. While sometimes this may be accurate, a lot of the time, their vision may be inaccurate. Do not eliminate a possible candidate just because they currently run a small practice or too large of a practice. Many times, finding the right buyer means finding the right personality. Sellers know their clients best and a new buyer’s personality will need to mesh with how the seller is currently running their business in order to transition the existing clientele. All buyers should sign a non-disclosure agreement before the process begins so discussing this with a number of interested parties will only help make your final decision easier. You will start to know what you like and what you don’t like in a potential suitor. This can go a long way in determining the overall success and future success of the practice.
Sell Your Practice – The seller needs to portray their practice as a solid investment and opportunity for the buyers. They need to convey some opportunities and some of the unique perks of the practice that may not be available in all practices. The buyer needs to feel good about purchasing the opportunity as well as the numbers. Maybe your practice does not offer financial services to its client base and this would be a good revenue stream for a buyer who is already catering to this type of client. Maybe there is some inefficiency in your practice that technology can easily change. Many sellers are reluctant to change because what has worked in the past has continued to work and there is nothing wrong with this. However, the buyer is going to be looking at all cost cutting maneuvers in order to increase cash flow and overall value of the practice.