Should I actively try to hire new team members while my accounting practice is for sale; or, is it better to wait and leave that to the buyer?
Our general recommendation is that when selling, the best practice is to run your practice like it’s yours until it isn’t anymore.
For one thing, depending on the marketability of your firm, it may take a while to find the right buyer to purchase. You may have to live with your practice as it is for a while. Are you willing to go through next tax season without that key hire? If so, then ok. If not, then start searching for that new hire.
Most buyers want good staff
Surveys of accounting firm owners consistently rank finding good staff as one of their top challenges. It’s a cliché because it’s true. It really is hard to find good help. If you are able to bring on people who are excellent at what they do and they will help to improve the client experience, then that’s highly likely going to be a big plus to your buyer as well. We just recently found a great resource to help with the hiring process. If you’d like a no-nonsense hiring guide, check out The Hiring Advantage by Gina Pellegrini and Jason Smith.
If you already have a buyer, consider getting their input
Once your practice is under contract with a buyer, it’s wise to involve them in key decisions. Hiring key people would definitely be something that would impact the buyer. We wouldn’t suggest that the buyer be involved in the interviewing process, because it’s best not to disclose to existing staff or potential staff that the practice is being sold. That said, you want to consult with your buyer on this decision and let them have some input. Hopefully, the buyer’s involvement brings additional value to the hiring process.
About Brannon Poe: Brannon is the founder of Poe Group Advisors and has been facilitating successful accounting practice transitions throughout the US and Canada since 2003. Brannon started his career in public accounting as an auditor with Ernst & Young before working for several years in auditing and tax preparation for the regional firm of Elliott, Davis & Company. He is the author of “Accountant’s Flight Plan: Best Practices for Today’s Firms” (published by the AICPA and CPA Canada), “On Your Own: How to Start Your Own CPA Firm,” as well as multiple blogs and the “Accountant’s Flight Plan” podcast.
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