1) Do I really want to sell?
Do you have plans for your time post sale? What proceeds from the sale will be needed to meet your retirement goals? If you are planning to retire, it’s recommended that you seek counsel from a qualified Retirement Specialist that can help you determine if you have an income stream to meet your needs.
2) Do you have a plan for a successful transition?
For a smooth transfer and high retention, your employees, your clients, you and the buyer need to work together to assure that everyone is properly notified, at the appropriate time. If your staff and clients are kept in the loop, (timing is critical here), it will have a positive effect on the process. Seller and Buyer should agree on duties during the transition process, and most importantly when these duties are implemented. We carefully counsel buyers and seller to assure that they understand the significance of these issues in the transition and retention.
3) Am I getting Fair Market Value?
Would you sell your home without some research on its market value? Fair market values for the sale of an accounting and tax practice are difficult to determine because of the many variables that determine its value. Negotiating the sale on your own can leave money on the table. All our focus and expertise lies in valuing practices, matching buyers and sellers, and negotiating on your behalf.
4) Did I investigate the buyer?
Is the Buyers license current? Is the Buyer under investigation? What is their credit history? What is their experience in running and growing a practice? Too often we think the buyer is the only one that needs to do vetting. Accounting Firm Sold has a process to qualify potential buyers. We also counsel the seller on how to perform his or her own due diligence. That is particularly important if you are offering seller financing or being guaranteed any payments or future income generated after the sale.
5) Did the buyer seek outside financing for the acquisition?
If not, why not? Many buyers make the assumption that the seller must always do the entire financing. That simply is not true. Our experience has shown that the majority of practices that we sell do not require seller financing. We have access to funding sources that can provide financing and minimize or eliminate seller financing.
6) Is the down payment I am getting adequate?
If seller financing is involved, does the buyer have enough “skin in the game” to mitigate your risk? Down payments should be large enough to help cement the buyer’s commitment. Again, we can help the buyer get outside financing to increase the buyers down payment and reduce your seller financing.
7) If there are post sale retention issues, who will absorb that cost?
Buyers often prefer to buy a practice based on a specific amount down and collections over a future specified period. If you are considering that type of deal then you need to know you are taking most all of the risk of client loss. Certainly there is risk for Seller and Buyer in purchase of an accounting or tax practice. The question is: who is going to take that risk and is there a way to mitigate and/or share the risk? (See question 2 for ways of mitigating that risk)
8) Did an Attorney review the Purchase Agreements?
The review of the purchase agreements by an attorney experienced in these matters is critical. A proper purchase agreement will deal with not only the hoped-for successful outcome for seller and buyer, but will also be structured to avoid potential pitfalls for both seller and buyer