As the summer progresses, we are entering the busy season of selling accounting practices. We have been scheduling lots of meetings between sellers and prospective buyers so thought it would be good to spend some time blogging on these meetings.
The initial meeting between buyer and seller is where many buyers either win or lose the opportunity to purchase a practice. To a large degree, the success of this meeting will depend on the ability of the buyer to connect on a personal level with the seller.
Many factors influence the way the buyer is perceived and will affect the degree of rapport established with the seller. The seller has invested both financially and emotionally in the practice and wants to insure that it is sold to an individual who will care about the practice and the clients. We will explore several issues in this series of blogs.
The first, and perhaps most important thing to remember is this: The meeting with the seller is a confidential meeting. Do not discuss the purpose of your meeting with anyone who may be remotely connected with the sellers practice.
Selling an accounting practice involves many, many people. Including the seller, it also includes:
• The seller’s family
• The seller’s staff
• The seller’s clients
It is the seller’s responsibility/privilege to tell the story he or she needs to tell about selling the practice. In addition, and of perhaps greater interest to the buy, if news of the potential sell leaks prematurely, it can cause the practice to lose value.
If word leaks that a Seller is contemplating a sale of the practice, it could raise anxiety among the staff. It might cause clients to use the transition to find an alternative service provider. It may even cause hardship in the Seller’s family if they are not fully aware of his or her intentions.
It is always best that the Buyer respect the confidentiality of the Seller.