how to sell an accounting practice

There are a few important considerations when deciding when to sell an accounting practice. Firstly, it’s important to pick a time of year when your practice will be at its highest profitability. A few months before or after your busy season will result in more interest, the most time to vet prospective buyers, and the least amount of uncertainty and unpredictability during your transition. Additionally, a deal can take several months to put together, and you should plan to be near the peak of your practice’s profit cycle when closing the transaction. This will allow you to get a higher return and service your debt more easily.


Selling an accounting practice

Selling an accounting practice can be a challenging process. There are many aspects to consider before making the move. Whether the practice is small or large, the transition period will have to be carefully planned. For example, you may need to spend a few months or even a few years as the buyer is getting acquainted with your clientele and working as a consultant. The goal of the transition is to make the transfer of ownership as seamless as possible.

The first step in selling your accounting practice is to establish a strategy. Decide if an acquisition, merger, or internal succession would best serve your needs. You should then assess the value of your practice and make sure that your successor can continue to thrive after your departure. After all, your final pay check is based on how many clients your firm can retain and grow.


Another consideration is how your clients perceive the practice. Some firms may not appreciate lower fees than those of similar firms. A potential buyer may be turned off by high fees, low profit margins, or inconsistent growth. These factors can negatively impact the value of the practice. The buyer might also think the practice is too seasonal and would not generate enough revenue.

Another important aspect of selling an accounting practice is marketing. Prospective clients must believe that you are a trustworthy and knowledgeable professional. Otherwise, they might be drawn to a competitor. It is important to keep in mind that the accounting industry is competitive. The best way to attract prospective clients is to be genuine and honest. They need to feel comfortable with your firm and the accountants in it. Keeping your identity as a true professional is essential to your long-term success.

Finding a buyer

Before selling an accounting practice, consider who will be the best buyer. A practice that has a bright future and strong financial results is the most likely to sell. A practice that has had a bad year may have trouble finding a buyer. In this situation, the owner may become worried about the future and irritated with his staff and clients. As a result, he may choose the first buyer he sees.

When selling an accounting practice, it’s critical to determine if the buyer can afford to pay cash up front. Most transactions go through with a down payment of at least 10%, but it depends on the situation. If you don’t have this money, a broker can help you set up a financing plan.

Often, accountants look to sell their practice to younger associates. An up-and-coming associate may want to purchase the practice and groom it to become his own. In this case, it’s important to hire a specialized broker to sell the practice. The Accountancy Act places strict requirements on who can buy an accounting practice.

When selling an accounting practice, the process is complicated and often requires a high level of expertise. Using a business broker with experience in CPA practice sales can make the process a lot easier and less stressful. A strong intermediary can save you countless hours of work, and ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.

Due diligence process

Due diligence is an important part of the sale process. It is a process that entails examining the target company and its model from every angle. It can be an exhaustive process, exposing significant confidential information and increasing the risk of alienating the seller. A due diligence process should not be undertaken before the buyer and seller have agreed on the terms of the transaction. Before the due diligence review begins, the buyer and seller should exchange generic information about the target company and clients. They should also come to an agreement on a price for the practice. The due diligence process should last from thirty to sixty days.

In addition to reviewing the practice’s current profitability, the buyer should also look into its likely profitability after the acquisition. It is essential to compare the firm’s revenues to its local competitors and determine what clients are willing to pay for the services provided. Additionally, a buyer should consider the firm’s software and equipment, assessing its age and condition.

When the parties have agreed on the basic terms of the transaction, they move on to the deal documents. A due diligence document will specify the terms of the sale and any conditions that apply to the due diligence. The seller will make representations about the practice to the buyer, a condition that can be materially misleading if the seller fails to disclose certain liabilities or assets. If these representations are not accurate or complete, the buyer may be entitled to recover some or all of his purchase price. A representation, though, is not a replacement for due diligence, but rather a means of additional security for the buyer.

The due diligence process for selling an accounting practice involves a thorough evaluation of the firm’s legal and financial condition. The due diligence process should uncover all aspects of the firm, including any past and current legal issues. It should also identify any problems in the business, including those involving clients or employees.


The process of selling an accounting practice can be challenging. There are many variables to consider, but most importantly, you should be clear on your reasons for selling. These may be personal or business-related, and they will help you determine what you want to accomplish in the process. If you are selling a business, be prepared to put in the necessary time to find a good buyer and work with a professional team.

Before beginning the negotiations, it is important to understand the buyer’s experience, qualifications, and willingness to continue service to clients after the sale. A good broker will be transparent and honest with you. A good broker should also be able to manage your expectations and be realistic. When selling an accounting practice, you may not want to be involved in the handover, but you will want to make sure your clients are satisfied.

If you decide to sell your accounting practice, it is important to understand the different price ranges. Pricing a practice based on 100% of billings is a good benchmark for valuation. However, the actual sale price may be lower or higher. This is because a practice can vary in profitability.

One way to determine the value of a practice is to use the Earnings-Based Approach. This method uses a formula that calculates the potential future profits of a firm. The buyer will compare this with the practice’s current earnings, as well as its potential for future earnings. This method is also useful in persuading the seller to describe the firm’s permanent components.

Before starting negotiations, you need to decide what is important. You should evaluate the goals of the prospective buyer. Ensure that they are similar to yours. You should also consider what you’d like to get out of the sale. If you’re looking for a good price for your accounting practice, make sure you compare prices with similar practices.

Avoiding common pitfalls

One of the most important things you can do when selling your accounting practice is hire a professional appraisal firm to perform a thorough review of your practice. This will help you avoid common pitfalls. Usually, accountants think about retirement around the age of 65 or 67. However, it’s important to consider a number of factors, including health, finances, and the future demand for an accounting firm.

It’s also important to make sure that you and your partner have regular conversations about the sale. Remember, selling your accounting practice is an important and once-in-a-lifetime decision. Avoiding common pitfalls is vital to ensure a smooth transition. Before you sell, consider personal factors, including your current health and financial stability, your family’s needs, and your desire to pursue an avocation.

Using a business brokerage is a great way to find a motivated buyer. Not only can they sell your practice, but they can also help you sell your practice’s furniture, equipment, and lease. While you’re at it, be sure to be realistic about the terms of the transaction. Some associates will only tell you one side of the story and don’t disclose how much the down payment is, how long the practice will stay in the same location, or how much you’re willing to lease the practice to them.

When selling an accounting practice, you should always be realistic about the value of your practice. Averaging out the sale price of other similar practices in the same area will help you determine the value of your practice. However, remember that each accounting firm is unique and each accounting firm’s value will differ based on location, client mix, staffing, profitability, and many other variables.