Buying a CPA Practice?
Balancing Patience & Decisiveness
What’s the difference between being decisive and being impulsive when buying a CPA practice?
To the outside observer, watching a decisive business person (who also makes good decisions) can look easy…even a little bit like impulsiveness. How does one make quick, good decisions? What might be closer to the truth though is that what might look like a quick decision isn’t anything close to that.
It’s usually a combination of years of professional experience and a lot of forethought – that just happens to be brought to bear quite quickly. We often have buyers of CPA firm who have looked at numerous opportunities and just haven’t found the “one.” By going through a process, they hone their search and increasingly know what will work well for them. The act of buying can be incredibly quick for someone who finds exactly what they’ve been looking for and thinking about.
On the other hand, the buyer who purchases quickly without really understanding what they are searching for – can result in an extremely bad decision – and an ugly transition.
Buying the wrong practice impulsively (for a low price or an otherwise “great deal”) can be a costly career mistake.
How does patience play into the equation?
A simple definition of patience – waiting calmly for things you want and persevering until you get them.
By that definition, you must first clearly define what you want. A lot of buyers try to skip this step. This is crucial for both finding what you want and clearly knowing what you don’t want. Coming to a fast “no” is perhaps more important than coming to an eventual yes.
Why a good process matters when buying a CPA practice.
At Poe Group Advisors all of our buyers follow a process. Good decision making comes from confidence…which comes from knowledge.
A good buying process should:
- Efficiently put you through the necessary paces.
- Keep you focused on relevant information.
- Prevent you from “getting pulled down into the weeds.”
- Be based on experience with the goal of helping everyone in the deal succeed.
- Help you get clarity around what you are looking for so you can decide if the deal is a yes or a no.
In short, a buying decision can happen quickly, but should not happen impulsively.
A good match will ensure that the seller is happy, clients are happy, staff are happy, and you the buyer are happy too!