Are You Really Ready to Sell?

It is just after tax season, that annual lull in activity before more deadlines are hanging over your head just around the corner. You might be saying to yourself, “I need to spend more quality time with the grandkids and do some fishing up country. I’m more than ready!” But are you really?

There is no question that you may have the motivation. But, do you have the means, the conviction and the right plan? If a seller of a CPA practice for sale cannot answer all three in the affirmative, often he or she will realize late in the sales process, after offers have been submitted and a letter of intent has been agreed upon, that they actually cannot or should not sell. Here is why:

The Means

The No. 1 reason business owners said they are selling is to retire, according to a 2015 Pepperdine University survey. The survey also found that 29 percent of respondents selling said they are cashing out because they are simply burned out.

No matter the scenario, before starting the sales process, it is critical that sellers accurately estimate their true personal financial requirements necessary to maintain their desired lifestyle after the potential accounting practice sale. Without a rigorous understanding of their current and post-sale financial position, expectations for their future will be unrealistic and ultimately disappointing.

We always succeed in meeting the expectations that we present to a seller, and usually exceed them, but a small percentage of merger and acquisition (M &A) deals fail because sellers realize too late that they are ill-prepared to finance their next chapter due to inadequate retirement savings. Some of these unprepared sellers will attempt to stay on the sales track by asserting unrealistic demands about the price and terms they need for their accounting practice for sale. This nearly always results in effectively killing any potential deal by assigning requirements that are not in line with the marketplace for accounting practice sales.

Do your calculations before starting the sales process and make sure that you are prepared for the reduction in income that typically runs tandem with retirement. If you find it necessary to maintain your current earnings for three or five more years to complete your retirement nest egg, then you are most likely not really ready to sell.

The Conviction

Sellers must make the mental space to engage in some soul-searching long before they approach the sales process. This is about having a clear understanding of just what you want for yourself and your goals for the future.

Your retirement objective could be making a clean break and walking away from accounting, leaving you free to start a whole new career path or none at all.
It could also mean staying professionally active in accounting, but with fewer hours and a lot less responsibility, realizing actual compensation will be commensurate and therefore reduced.

While it is absolutely true that some buyers after transition want to move forward alone, others desire the opportunity to keep the seller onboard for quite some time. Accounting Broker’s primary purpose is to match buyers with sellers that not only meet the seller’s objectives and requirements, but who will compete to do so with other like-minded buyers at the table.

The competition we bring to bear yields higher prices and better terms. Because our proven methods combine intensive buyer competition with unparalleled negotiating skills, we exceed expectations while attaining maximum market value and significantly higher sales prices, without exception. How are we able to do this? We have the largest database in the nation of qualified CPAs who are active potential buyers – including all areas of specialization. In addition, we are the only accounting brokerage of its kind, comprised 100 percent of Ex-Big Four CPAs who are CPAs with significant merger and acquisition experience.

If you are considering the sale of a CPA practice, establish your reasons for the sale and determine what will give you the most satisfaction after the transition. We will make absolutely certain these goals are accomplished.

The Right Plan

It is no shock or revelation that when selling an accounting firm, you need a plan for how you are going to find highly competent buyers while achieving maximum value with the most cash at closing, on your terms.

The plan’s key steps must include a marketing strategy that will at once: maintain absolute confidentiality and attract the right qualified buyers; dispassionately negotiating and structuring a deal that can meet your needs and the buyers’ needs; developing a relationship with the buyer to support the transition; and effectively manage the business’ day-to-day operations while continuing efforts to increase billable work.

It is pretty obvious, the process of successfully conducting an accounting practice sale can be time consuming and energy draining. This is particularly so with no expert marketer/negotiator onboard. Most sellers do not have enough time in their day to implement even a fraction of the process necessary to achieve maximum value and cash at closing. In addition, they do not know the right buyers or possess the proper negotiating tools. When such seller’s conduct an accounting practice sale on their own, they do not typically achieve top market value. In addition, many such deals are laden with earn-outs and other value-reducing contingencies.

The Accounting Broker

The best option that will typically allow you to have your firm marketed, yet maintain absolute confidentiality; to focus on your business and the coming transition; and to achieve the maximum value for your firm with the most cash at closing would be to engage a competent accounting practice broker.

Unlike other brokers, Accounting Broker does not list your CPA practice for sale on our website in the vain hope that somehow the right qualified buyer will happen to come across it and reach out. We already have the largest database of legitimate qualified CPA practice buyers in the nation, who are ready to make a deal, and therefore to compete for your practice.

We maintain absolute confidentiality. No potential buyer will receive information about your business until after a non-disclosure agreement is signed. Even then, we still redact any identifying information and maintain absolute confidentiality until you, the seller, authorize us to arrange a meeting.

We are the only accounting brokerage of its kind, comprised 100 percent of Ex-Big Four CPAs specializing in CPA practice mergers and acquisitions. We shield you and your practice, while you continue doing what you do best, which is run your business, and also prepare for the transition, without unnecessary stress.

Our added value is that we create the conditions for you to achieve the best possible buyer with the best possible deal structure, at maximum value and the most cash at closing. Because of our proven methods and unparalleled expertise, we achieve significantly higher sales prices and cash at closing for accounting practices for sale than any of our competitors anywhere in the nation.


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