In looking back at the transactions we have represented, there are several lessons we would like to share.  This is our brief summary of lessons with links to full posts on each lesson if you wish to read more.  Some of the lessons we have shared previously included:

Manage your advisors, you are their client and they should be pursuing your best interest. On a few transactions we worked with attorneys that seemed to have their billable in mind rather than the seller’s or buyer’s best interest… read more

Do not delay until the last minute to sell or acquire. Again this past year we had quite a few sellers engage us after the October 15 deadline.  More surprisingly, we had a lot of buyers that made their first inquiry about a practice for sale after October 15, even on listings we had been promoting to them for several months prior… read more

Selling and buying is an emotional process. For the seller there is the fear of letting go and placing their clients and staff in the hands of another practitioner, coupled with the risk the transactions presents.  For the buyer there is the fear of investing funds or securing a debt obligation in anticipation of the transaction’s success, and all the risk a less than successful outcome represents.  Understanding and managing these concerns is a critical component of completing a transaction… read more

Risk is a component of every transaction and a motivating factor for its success. Simply put, nothing quite motivates like risk.  A seller that has zero risk in a transaction is less likely to put in all the work required to transfer the business and the client relationships.  A buyer that has zero risk in a transaction, has zero motivation to do anything other than sit back and see what happens.  Both parties need to take on some risk to satisfy the other party and to keep motivated through all the ups and downs a transaction and transition can experience… read more

Some new lessons we have touched on but not too expansively:

Staff – when should you tell them about a sale? Timing of telling a staff the practice is for sale and how this is done is critical to getting the sale across the finish line… read more

A Buyer’s active involvement in transition is critical. This is not something that should be deferred to staff to handle.  It sends the wrong message to the seller and the clients and likely does little to transfer the client relationships to the buyer… read more

How to structure a sale and what reasonable price and terms are has become more clouded. Thanks to a few extreme presentations in the market – a seller should take on zero risk and expect an all-cash sale at a very high price vs the buyer should pay little to zero down and expect a multiple year earn-out at a very low price – expectations of some sellers and many buyers are far out of line with the realities of the markets in California, Oregon, and Washington… read more

The challenges of selling a portion of your practice. We had quite a few sellers approach us about selling just a portion of their practice.  We advise against this for many reasons as we share in more detail in our full post.  If this is something you are determined to pursue be aware that a sale of this nature is pretty difficult and involves the challenges of defining what is being sold, a limited transfer of goodwill which can diminish price, prorating financials and expenses to the portion of the practice being sold, and limited financing options among other issues… read more


ProHorizons is a West Coast brokerage and consulting company focused on tax and accounting practice sales and acquisition services.

If you are planning to sell your practice and would like more information about our service, please visit our Sell Your Practice page and/or Request a Sales Information Page.  If you are looking to acquire a practice, please visit our Buy an Accounting Practice page, see if there is a practice of interest in our Current Listings in the Pacific Region, and/or Register with us as a Buyer.

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