CPA Transition Planning – The Buyer/Seller Relationship

CPA Transition Planning

CPA Transition Planning

The Buyer/Seller Relationship

If you have followed us for a while, then you are probably familiar with our transition model.  We recommend a fairly brief handoff when a practice changes hands.

Although a swift transition is best regarding the day to day operations of the practice, there is tremendous benefit to building a positive and long-lasting relationship between the buyer and seller.

In the busy day-to-day life of running a new practice, this is something buyers may overlook, so we wanted to offer a few ideas.

Have you ever wondered why “goodwill” is called that? 

In an accounting practice sale, goodwill is the biggest asset that’s being purchased and sold, so it’s worth thinking about what that term means.  Hopefully, the seller has built trusting relationships with clients, and their recommendations have significant weight.  A trusted seller who genuinely and whole-heartedly recommends that clients do business with their buyer will have tremendous influence.  The seller’s goodwill effectively flows to the buyer.

How do you keep that goodwill flowing? It’s a simple matter of keeping a good relationship .

There is no magic formula for this, but here are some ideas to consider:

  • Invite the seller to firm celebrations…After tax-season parties, Christmas gatherings, etc.
  • Invite the seller to occasionally drop by the office for coffee, birthday breaks, or to just shoot the breeze.
  • Do things together outside of the office like dinner, golf, coffee, continuing education events, volunteering opportunities in the community.
  • When negotiating the deal, don’t be trivial and overly aggressive. (You actually want the seller to be happy with the deal too.)
  • Ask them to mentor you on some matters.
  • Thank them in a meaningful way for any referrals/positive word-of-mouth they give you in the community.
  • If the seller is in a new career, find out how you can help them in their new role.

Common sense stuff?  Yes.  Easy? For the most part.  Enjoyable and extremely worthwhile?  Absolutely!

Buying a CPA Practice