Top 5 Insider Tips to Selling your CPA Firm
People often ask us: “How long does it take when selling your CPA firm?”
Most frequently our answer is, “It depends”…
…on a number of factors: price, location, terms, responsiveness of buyer and seller to communications and negotiations, etc. It can go faster or slower.
Historically, buyers want to purchase a practice well before tax season so they can properly “gear-up” for the season and benefit from its attractive cash-flow.
Many of our past buyers tell us that fall is an ideal time for a smooth transition, offering adequate time to shift from one management team to another, orient staff, and meet new clients.
With that, here is a round-up of some tips for CPAs who want to exit before the upcoming busy season:
1. Get your practice ready.
You only have one chance to make a first impression. Get your office looking its best…especially the reception area and the owner’s/partner’s offices.
2. Understand possible deal terms.
In our opinion, freedom is greatly underappreciated when most sellers are negotiating a deal. This is absolutely one of the main benefits of a fixed price structure.
3. Know what kind of transition you want.
We are often asked. “How long will I need to work after closing the sale of my accounting practice to afford a successful transition?” The safe answer is almost always: “It’s probably a lot less time than you think.”
4. Find the RIGHT buyer.
The key to maximizing the value of an accounting practice is to find the buyer who does all or most of the following:
• Understands how he/she will succeed in that particular practice.
• Has the capacity or the team to provide excellent client service.
5. Make Plans for what you want to do after the sale.
Our clients who, post-close, have reported being happiest about the decision to sell, have hands down been people who have significant things that they want to do after the sale.
One bonus tip…Timing is everything! Don’t rush and force it, but also don’t drag your feet when it’s time to take action.