ProHorizons’ Accounting Practice Sales Methodology
Our four-phase process is structured to explore all of our clients’ options and to ensure they find the right buyer with the right price and terms.
Phase 1: Understanding Your Business
- Discovery Interview
Understanding your firm thoroughly is the key to positioning your business correctly and finding the right purchaser. In this first step, we’ll discuss your practice, clients, staff, financial statements, goals and expectations.
- Determine Next Steps
The outcome of the Discovery Interview determines our next steps together. In some cases, we will immediately proceed through the remaining phases of our sales process. In others, we may recommend some short-term adjustments to your business to better position it for sale. Many sellers consult with us years before they actually plan to sell.
Phase 2: Preparing Your Business
- Market Evaluation
With an understanding of your business and goals, next we’ll evaluate your core market(s) to document key factors that may affect the perceived value of your business:
- Is your market area growing or declining?
- Are any of your competitors interested in expanding?
- What factors are prospective buyers utilizing in their business acquisitions?
- Setting the Price and Terms
In most circumstances, we begin with a baseline price of 100% of the industry standard multiple of gross billings. Then we rely on our practical experience to adjust the price according to factors such as size of staff, type of work performed, profitability, business reputation, and market trends.
Each situation is unique, therefore, we will always collaborate with our clients and focus on their goals when calculating the price. Some of the goals that affect price may include:
- Requiring a large down payment
- Seeking a quick cash sale
- Waiting for the highest price the market will bear
- Pursuing a secure income stream
We understand that putting a price on their company is a challenge for all business owners. In addition to personal factors and the terms of the deal, the amount is a concern. If a price is too high, buyers will not be interested; if the price is too low, sellers will not get the return they should. Our combination of analytical data and real-world experience presents your business at a fair price to potential buyers.
- Business Sales Memorandum
Once the prior steps are complete, our staff will prepare a comprehensive Business Sales Memorandum. This confidential document is the cornerstone of our presentations to your potential buyers. It details the core aspects of your business and the information the buyer needs to make a purchase decision.
Phase 3: Marketing and Selling Your Business
Once we have finalized the Business Sales Memorandum, we are ready to market your business to qualified buyers through a variety of channels:
- Mining our database of thousands of screened and qualified buyers.
- Networking with our extensive contacts to generate leads and referrals.
- Purchasing high-end industry lists to reach new prospective buyers.
- Conducting integrated marketing campaigns to contact prospective buyers.
- Listing your business on our site, exposing it to thousands of prospective buyers worldwide. Visit our practices for sale page to see how this works.
- Advertising in leading industry journals and newsletters.
- Building relationships with potential buyers through our webinars, workshops and industry conferences.
Our goal is to find multiple buyers, as this will increase your options when negotiating price and terms.
- Screening Buyers
Our screening process measures prospects on two levels: 1) How serious is the prospect about buying, and if they are financially capable to acquire, and 2) How will the prospect fit within your business structure and environment.
This screening process ensures that you only speak with the prospects that are ready, willing and able about buying and will provide a successful transition for you, your clients, and your staff.
Phase 4: Closing the Transaction
- Presenting Offers
With the screening process complete, next we focus on the following factors to generate multiple offers from qualified prospective buyers to position you well for the negotiation stage:
- Which prospect has the skills and ability necessary to continue your business?
- Are the down payments large enough and terms adequate?
- Do the prospects have good credit?
You will not have to haggle over price and terms. Instead, we manage all negotiations with prospects in consultation with you, asking the tough questions and finalizing a win-win agreement for both parties.
- Due Diligence
As in all business transactions, caveat emptor applies. Therefore, it is the buyer’s responsibility to perform any investigations prior to closing the sale.
- The Purchase Agreement
A well-written agreement that spells out everything—price, terms, etc.—can be the difference between a deal that sounds good and one that is enforceable.
Our standard purchase agreement is very comprehensive and covers:
- Non-competition agreements
- Down payments
- Protection of the unpaid balance
- Repayment schedules
- The Transition
Once your deal is closed, it is important to adequately transition the buyer into your practice. We assist you in this process by helping you plan conversations with your staff and clients, providing sample client correspondence, and acting as your sounding board as questions arise.