Selling Your Accountancy Practice
When considering the sale of your accountancy practice, it is important to first understand what you are trying to achieve through the sale. If you are seeking retirement, within what timeframe do you wish to sell?
Thriving accountancy market. Our industry leading confidential sales process enables us to reach out to UK and International buyers to present your sale opportunity to the widest possible audience, an audience of both vertical and horizontal buyers.
Accountancy is a diverse sector with modern accountants offering much more than a bookkeeping and auditing service. They provide enhanced financial specialisation across all areas of business, which requires an equally specialist brokerage who can navigate the nuances of the thriving accountancy market.
Whether your focus is practice growth, regional expansion or strategic acquisition, our service will go beyond the buying process. This is an opportunistic time, and we will fully support you from the start to the very end of the process, ensuring that you are comfortable with every step of the journey towards owning or expanding your accountancy business.
Once you have made your decision to buy an accountancy practice, we’ll ask you to register with us. After the registration process has been completed, we will allocate an experienced negotiator to you to go through all your acquisition requirements such as background, knowledge, funding, search criteria and size of practice. If you have acquired a practice before, it will put you in a better place as you have experience of the industry and dealing with integrating fees and maximising retention. This will enable the negotiator to understand you as a person and your future business goals.
The dedicated negotiator will ask you to provide all the essential documents to make sure everything is verified and in place when you are ready to make an offer. It is most likely a seller will give priority to a buyer that has funding in place. If you require funding, then we can introduce you to a specialised commercial finance brokers who will work with you to secure the required funding.
From our current database of accountancy firms on sale, your negotiator will filter out the right business for you that fits your acquisition criteria. The negotiator will email you the shortlisted accountancy firms for you to review. In the meantime, if we have any new businesses that matches your search criteria, we will email for your attention.
When buying an accountancy practice, it’s essential to know the main factors that will have the greatest effect on value. This may include a high proportion of revenue from a small number of clients, motivated staff, location and transition support from the seller. The value of an accountancy practice is typically defined as a multiple of the gross recurring fees – in simpler terms, the fee income that can be earned in the following financial year based on the current year.
After reviewing and identifying the suitable accountancy practice that you would like to buy, Kings Professional will act as a broker between the buyer and seller to handle all the communication during this process. You have access to our experience and can ask if the offer is reasonable before we submit it to the seller.
Once the offer is accepted, we keep an eye on proceedings and advise you from offer through to completion. We can help with ironing out any issues which arise during due diligence and can recommend a very good solicitor who is a specialist in the field of buying and selling businesses.
During this process, all communication between the seller and the buyer is through your negotiator. Most vendors are very concerned about confidentiality and do not want, under any circumstances, to be contacted by buyers direct. If you have any questions, we will be more than happy to help and communicate between both the parties.
Once the transaction has competed successfully, we will request you to provide us with your feedback and suggestions. We would be keen to hear your feedback on our negotiator who will have worked hard to successfully complete the deal and found a perfect opportunity to grow your business portfolio.
Are you ready for your next chapter? This decision is lifechanging, and you will understandably want to achieve the best price possible for your accountancy practice. With over 30 years of experience, we are the brokerage that you need to maximise your achievable market value. We have extensively analysed the accountancy sector, and we know how to successfully facilitate a sale in this market.
Before commencing the sales process, we will take the time to fully understand your business and what you are looking to achieve from your accountancy practice sale or merger. You will be given an idea of what you could expect from the sale of your practice. Time scale will also be discussed so that you can start to make plans for what to do after you have sold your fees.
As you have decided to sell your accountancy practice with us, we would like to ensure you are well prepared when we have an offer for your business from a potential buyer. We want to make the entire process and experience as smooth as possible. Please remember that time kills deals. In other words, the longer a deal goes on the greater the chances are that it will not happen.
In the early stages we will work with you to obtain the relevant information about your business and we will present it in such a way that it will maximise the opportunity available to the buyers. Typical questions from buyers will relate to, how many clients you have, how many audits you do a year, general running costs and staff overheads. When selling an accounting practice, past profits are obviously important, but we will give you a heads up by providing the list of documents you will need to prepare beforehand.
We understand that some practice owners are hesitant about announcing their business for sale and as such we are very experienced in marketing our business opportunities on a confidential basis.
To find the right buyer for your practice, we will promote your business on various platforms to find the best deal. With our in-house marketing team, we will find the best ways to advertise and get the message out about the sale of your practice to a targeted audience. Our marketing team will create offline as well as online marketing campaigns using the latest technology.
We will ensure that all criteria set by you are met by the buyer such as potential buyers being audit registered, qualified and above all genuine. This will eliminate time wasters. Once we have the interested buyers for your practice, we will arrange viewings/meetings with yourself.
All the dealings between the seller and the buyer will be done by us. We will review and vet all the offers before being forwarded to you to ensure that everything is in place.
Once you are happy with the offer received and you’ve decided to accept it, we will assist you with the completion of the deal. We keep an eye on proceedings and advise you from offer through to completion. We can recommend legal advisors who experienced in business sales transactions.
We aim to communicate realistic deal timescales and act on your behalf to work towards a timely and successful completion. We will frequently contact all parties to make sure that your business sale is on track for completion, and that deal timescales are adhered to. It is in your interests to work closely with us on this.
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.
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.
In this process, you will need to provide a comprehensive list of documentation, including financial practice licences and regulatory certifications.
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.
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.
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.
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