You’ve spent several decades building your accounting business, and want it to be sustainable even after you leave the firm. In order to achieve this, you need to choose the right buyer—but not all buyers are created equal.
Here’s a quick primer on choosing the right buyer who can take your firm, and legacy, from today into the future.
KEY CONCERNS FOR FIRMS WHEN CHOOSING A BUYER
Some of the main concerns that business owners often cite when looking for a buyer are:
Ensuring Customers are Cared For Your customers are the lifeblood of the company. They aren’t simply an asset or a number, or the way to a paycheck. Choose a buyer who understands the importance of a seamless transition and prioritises customer care.
Ensuring employees are Cared For A winning team is the driving force behind any company. But staff retention rates often falter after a succession due to uncertain roles and futures. Find a buyer who your team can stand alongside and who can continue executing your, and your team’s, vision.
Continued Business Success Your legacy shouldn’t fade away after the change of hands. To ensure continued business success now and into the future, it’s crucial to find a buyer who understands the accounting industry and what it takes to operate a successful firm, as well as the blood and sweat you’ve poured into your business. Find someone who’s ready to carry that torch.
TYPES OF SUCCESSIONS
Succession and exit strategies can be nebulous in the early stages of planning. Each has the potential to impact your company in a unique way, so it’s crucial to determine the best option for your business.
Family Transfer Aside from the familial benefits and security of keeping your business close, family members often know, and want to maintain, your vision. They’ve grown alongside your business, which means less time training for the takeover, and more time focusing on customers.
Management Buyout Priming the right person from within the company can take years of development, and should be started early on. In such buyouts, vision and operations typically already align, which means a smooth transfer for employees and customers alike.
Outside Buyer Securing an outside buyer can provide greater flexibility, and full market value for business owners who want to solidify their legacy. Expanding the successor pool can help you secure fresh talent primed to lead a company in the digital age.
CHOOSING A BUYER
Although there’s no “one size fits all” solution for finding the ideal buyer, implement these best practises: to select a candidate who values sustainability.
Assess the buyer's vision for the future of your firm Does it align with yours? Define what matters to you for the future of your firm. In the face of retirement, your legacy depends on securing a buyer who can carry out that vision in a sustainable, committed way.
Assess the price tag they're putting on your business Is it an accurate reflection and will it give you a comfortable retirement? Get your business valued beforehand to know what it’s worth, and to reveal areas where you can make changes to reap the maximum payout and rewards.
Partner with a succession specialist Bring on a partner to help you not only increase the value of your business pre-sale, but to ensure that your employees and customers are taken care of when you retire.
There’s no archetype for the ideal buyer. However, it’s important to consider both financials and the future of your firm when choosing which buyer is ideal. Are you ready to take your business into the future?