BUYING A BUSINESS FAQS

SELLING A BUSINESS FAQS

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BUYING A BUSINESS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • Do I need any qualifications to purchase an accountancy firm?

    Yes, you will be required to hold a recognised accountancy qualification from one of the professional accountancy bodies such as the, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). In addition, to this you will also be required to hold a practicing certificate. We can provide further information on this upon enquiry. In some cases you are able to purchase and operate an accountancy business with an AAT certificate but there are only certain services which you can offer.

  • How long does it take to buy a business?

    This time will vary greatly depending on the accountancy business. There are multiple factors to consider; when your offer will be accepted and how long the Due Diligence process will take. We advise purchasers on what steps they can take to speed up the process.

  • Will I retain the regular clients of the accountancy business?

    We find that a high number of clients are retained after a transaction, however due to the evolving nature of the accountancy sector, we find that businesses are most effective when they find their niche and market themselves to a large client base.

  • Will there be a handover period?

    Some vendors may stipulate an ‘earn out’ period as a part of their stability measures during the transition of ownership, this can be enacted for upwards of 12 months and is ultimately up to the element of the transaction that will be agreed at the point of the sale.

  • What are the sources of funding available? Unsecured/secured lending options?

    Funding markets are always evolving with new lending products/providers entering the market. Our panel of commercial brokers will assist potential buyers with facilitating introductions to sector specific lenders and will work closely with our buyers through the legal phase until completion is affected.

  • I have a couple of long serving members of staff and would like to see that they are being looked after?

    This is common practice and we are able to support you by negotiating preferential terms if required for key staff members. We will discuss this on a case by case basis to ensure that the appropriate solution is secured.

SELLING A BUSINESS - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • How would you appraise my business?

    One of our Associate Directors will visit you and will conduct a Business Sale Consultation. It is in this meeting where the fundamental details of the sale project will be agreed. As part of our in-depth meeting we will discuss the diversity of your client base, the work which you undertake and also the level of contingent fees which you charge. This will assist us with understanding which buyers to approach on your behalf and in discussing the desired price/deal structure which you wish to achieve. This appraisal will be based on both the details of the business, and the current market climate for accountancy practices.

  • When is a good time to sell my practice?

    We recommend choosing a time to sell that would provide incentive to prospective purchasers. Try handing over control just before the most profitable time of year, to assist the buyer in hitting the ground running. You could also consider loaning your accounts receivable for a short time, to give your buyer more cash flow. By being generous, this could potentially equate to a better selling price.

  • What do I need to provide in the Due Diligence Process?

    In this process, you will need to provide a comprehensive list of documentation, including financial practice licences and regulatory certifications.

  • How do I make my business appeal to a buyer?

    Gone are the days of spreadsheets and dated software as modern accountancy practices pride themselves on taking a modern approach. By adopting cloud accounting and practice management technology, and by training your staff to be proficient in this software, you make your business more appealing to a prospective purchaser.

  • Is my practice large enough to be placed on the market?

    Our market analysis has indicated that active buyers are looking for a minimum turnover threshold of £250,000 per annum and at least 2 partners or directors within the practice.

  • What is “Claw back” and how does it affect me?

    Clawback often depends on the size of the practice and is usually between a period of 18 months and 3 years subsequent to the actual sale of the practice. Should any clients not transfer to the new business you may not generally speaking receive payment for those clients. In some circumstances we have arranged for the buyers and sellers to have an arrangement in place whereby the retiring practitioner can replace lost clients with new ones and therefore mitigate the impact of lost clients. There has occasionally been limits placed on the amount of turnover lost before clawback operates, this is between 5% and 10%. It is however absolutely vital that you find a buyer that has a similar ethos of working in order to ensure your clients comfortably hand over at the time of completion and you stay around long enough to ensure the clients have settled.