Deal Velocity When Buying or Selling an Accounting Practice

Deal Velocity when buying or selling an accounting practice.

If you are buying or selling an accounting practice, the pace of pursuing a deal is critically important.

If you go too slowly, things can just stall out…or perhaps a good opportunity could be missed.  If you go too quickly, mistakes can be made.

So what’s the proper pace?  Ideally, things move along swiftly enough to keep all parties confident that progress is being made, but not so fast that anxiety levels become excessive.  Deals can come together pretty quickly.  For an accounting firm, once a good fit has been found, negotiations can be concluded within a week or two and then closing can take place within 60 to 90 days.  Most of that time is due to the time it takes to secure financing.  If there is a snag it’s usually because of uncertainty and fear….so how do you minimize uncertainty and fear and keep the deal moving?

Every situation is unique but in general these problems are solved by three things:

  • Accurate and trustworthy information. – Getting certainty about the questions one has about the practice, the owner, the buyer, the staff, the clients…etc, etc.  Some fear is a good thing and should be heeded.  If fear has the deal stalled, you need to quickly work toward pinpointing the obstacle and getting the information needed to fully understand it.  Only then, can you find solutions that get the deal moving again…or realize that the deal isn’t a good fit.
  • People who know what they want and why they want it move much faster.  Intentionality is powerful.  This means doing some up front work to identify what the right opportunity looks like.  This ties in really well with last week’s post – 10 questions to ask when buying a CPA practice.  On the seller’s side, timing is everything.  Check out Selling an Accounting Practice-When is the Best Time?
  • Don’t let outside parties throw a wrench into things….(bankers and lawyers.) Make sure you pick good ones that can help you get to the finish line.


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