Feedback From an Accounting Practice Buyer – After Year 1

Lately we’ve been gathering feedback from our buyers who closed approximately one year ago.  Below is a Q&A session with Ed Blair, CPA of Richmond Virginia that I thought was good to share:

Brannon Poe:  Overall, have you been pleased with your progress so far?

Ed Blair:   I am very pleased where the practice is today.  It’s taken a lot of work but no major unpleasant surprises.  Absolutely no regrets about making the deal.

Brannon:  What could we do to lead buyers through transition to help set them up for greater success?

Ed:  I had no idea how “hands on” I would need to become.  While I expected this as far as client work was involved, I did not expect all the administrative stuff necessary to run a practice.  Whether it was payroll, IT, cash flow, employee or client issues, things pop up at the most inconvenient time.  But need to be handled.  Then add on to that the pressure to do marketing & practice development work balanced with billable client work.  Never understood how many hats I would wear.

Brannon:  Any time-management advice that you might pass on that could help future accounting practice buyers?

Ed:  I would suggest that you tell accountants that they should be prepared to think more like business owners & less like accountants.  This applies particularly to those, like me, that come from larger organizations & decide to strike out on their own.  That means constantly balancing working “on” your business along with client work.  Since I bought an existing accounting practice with 2 offices & 10 people, that is a lot just to manage.  I certainly underestimated the admin time required.  Then adding client work on top is a real challenge.  Start throwing in time for practice development & it really becomes a juggling act.  But you need to balance all three.  You may be able to neglect one of them for a while, but not if you wish to have a healthy, long-term, successful practice.

Brannon:  Thanks for that.  We do tell them to plan more…that’s the working ON their business.  Our recommendation is to plan your week first thing.  Go to a coffee shop and spend 30 minutes to an hour just figuring out what to focus on for that week.  Put it in your calendar and make sure it gets done.  If you go to the office first thing, you are too likely to be distracted.  It needs to become habit/routine.  Please stay in touch and thank you for providing this very valuable feedback.

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