Reasons Why An Accountant Should Never Sell Their Practice Themselves

October 7, 2015
You would definitely save a commission, but at what risk and cost? Consider the following:
  • Setting the price will be subjective, not objective.
  • Who will you talk to when serious questions arise? Some important questions are
    • “When do I tell my staff?”
    • “How are the Accounts Receivable handled?”
    • “What is expected in a Non-Compete clause?”
    • “How are Revenue/earn out conditions treated?”
    • “What are my responsibilities after the sale?”
If you are going to do it yourself take time to consider the following
  • How many accounting practices have you sold? There is a tremendous learning curve in this activity and it is never over. Are you willing to risk the real value of your practice and your receipt of the total sale proceeds, along with putting yourself in jeopardy of a post-sale problem by handling the sale yourself?
  • How will you quickly defuse Buyer objections which are unfounded? How will you know which pitfalls to avoid? How will you know the proper safeguards which need to be employed in a desire to protect yourself from post-sale problems?
  • It will be far more difficult for you to maintain the requisite confidences required for this task if you are handling your own sale. Is it your intent to have your sale become public information? Do understand that the FSBO (“For Sale by Owner”) avenue takes longer to conclude. Also, what is your access to immediate Buyers?
  • How can you immediately respond to Buyer inquiries if you are busy with your practice?
  • It is impossible to be objective along with being able to stand back and analyze the sales journey if you are handling the task yourself.
  • It will take considerable time for you to fully market your practice, and you will most likely miss most of the best candidates available. What a good Agent can do in a couple of weeks will take you at least a couple of months and still not be as extensive. In fact, just as you are just starting to get nibbles on the practice from your own efforts, a good Agent will already have a ratified Purchase Offer on the practice with the closing just weeks away.
  • By handling your own sale, you will lose the advantage of leverage. By engaging an experienced Agent, you will have leverage and the benefits that go with such an engagement.
  • There is no one party who has been engaged to facilitate the event. Will you know when to pull the proverbial trigger, which is ratifying a Purchase Offer? And once the trigger has been pulled, what next? Can you close the deal?
  • All very important aspects in the sale of an accounting practice.
  • How will you maintain the important element of trust with an interested prospect when it becomes apparent that you are trying to create competitive interest in your practice?
  • How might you handle the dilemma of dealing with multiple Offers? As attractive a situation as this seems, it is a very delicate area. Great care needs to be engaged. If not handled properly, there can be unpleasant consequences. No Seller needs their sale soured by a Restraining Order or a court-ordered Specific Performance. With just a simple mistake, your sale could be muddled with legal issues that could have been easily avoided.
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