Main points a vendor looks for when selling an accountancy practice

I was recently approached by the ICAEW to be one of their key-note speakers on a webinar about selling an accountancy practice.  These were the main points we, at Draper Hinks, have identified over the years that are most important to a vendor.

  • Right “fit”
    • This is most important to all firms with a turnover below £500,000 where the personality of the buyer really matters.  This can be more important to sellers than any other criteria. 
    • If the vendor likes you and could work with you, then so will their staff and so will their clients, which means that there will be a much higher retention rate.
    • If the vendor does not like you the deal will not go through. Simple as that.
  • Right culture
    • Do you micromanage or do you leave staff to do their work?  Sellers are often put off by a buyer that wants to account for every six minutes of a job.
  • Same level of service
    • This does not mean getting the work done on time.  The vendor is looking for the buyer to keep in contact with the clients as often as they do.  This may mean regular phone calls or Zoom calls.  It comes down to what the seller is used to. 
  • Care to be shown to all clients
    • Vendors don’t like buyers that cherry pick their clients.  They want the buyer to look after every single client.
  • Option to speak to a previous vendor
    • If a buyer has bought before, a vendor will ask to speak to a previous seller.  This will allow the current vendor to ask questions about the buyer, how the vendor was treated, were payments made on time, as well as asking questions about the process and what to expect from and during the sale. 
  • Practices below £200k, the buyer needs to take time to get to know the seller
    • Without this being done the vendor will probably reject the buyer.

If any of these points resonate with you and you want to discuss the possibility of selling your accountancy practice, then please get in touch.  Remember everything we discuss is confidential.  You can contact me, Nicola Draper, on 01788 816440 or email me at