Accounting firm mergers require a clear definition of success on both sides in order to be successful. In this article, Bill Carlino explains the questions that both buyers and sellers should ask themselves before making this huge decision toward a firm's growth strategy.
Over the past several years, there have been roughly 1,500 mergers of CPA firms, and those are just the ones that have garnered headlines in the consumer and business press. There are probably hundreds of affiliations between small firms that flew under the radar, and that frenetic pace of unions is not likely to wane anytime soon.
But whether you are a firm looking to merge upstream or one that is currently shopping for a practice to “tuck” into an existing office, it’s critical to determine whether you’re ready to merge and, perhaps more importantly, when you’re not.
Mergers occur for myriad reasons. On the seller side, it is most likely a succession strategy, as perhaps the firm’s stakeholders are looking to slow down, and their “bench” isn’t deep enough to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. If you are in an acquisition mode, you may have targeted new geographic markets or added a new client service niche. Perhaps the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has swayed many to exit the profession sooner than they’d planned.
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