Reasons why people sell their accountancy practice

We have had a number of people come to us in the last two years that have been seriously affected by Covid 19, which has necessitated having to sell their accountancy practice.  It can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you are having to sell rather than wanting to sell.

In the past we have had to sell accountancy practices where the vendor has died.  This is a particularly difficult time for all concerned, compounded by the fact that the sale has to be conducted as a matter of urgency or many of the clients will leave to find another accountant before a replacement is in place.  Problems can arise where Probate is involved, but there are ways round this and we can help.

We have also had to deal with vendors that don’t have long to live and they want to get their affairs in place prior to being incapable of dealing with matters.  We did sell a practice where the vendor told me he had only 6 weeks to live.  We found a buyer within that time.  I dealt with the widow pre and post sale.  The deal went through and both sides where very happy.

One vendor called me asked me how long it would take to sell his fees.  We chatted or a bit so that I could ask him some questions.  When asked why he wanted to sell his practice, he said that he had had a heart attack and his doctor had told him if he didn’t sell within a few months then he would be dead.  We both agreed it was a compulsive argument for a quick sale.

Attitudes to work can change.  After doing accountancy for many years it is not unusual for a vendor to say they have “fallen out of love with the work” or they have “lost their drive”.  In these cases we also have to act quite quickly because it is imperative that the clients do not sense that the vendor would rather not be at work dealing with their issues.  Its not that the vendor does not like the clients, far from it, it is normally the constant deadlines, similarity of work and endless questions and queries that arise.  In these cases we have a little more time but we need to act quickly. 

It is not uncommon for an accountant to sell their practice and go and work for a client that is doing particularly well.  Exponential growth and new markets can mean an accountant that has run their own practice can make a very good Financial Director.

If a vendor has decided to sell because they do not like doing the work any more then the stress can build throughout the sales process.  We have to be mindful that the vendor is working on a short fuse with clients, stress is increasing and we do not want the vendor to suffer any kind of breakdown as a result of a slow sale.  We have heard of vendors having heart attacks from the stress.  We take our work very seriously and will do everything we can to get a sale through as quickly as possible where speed is of the essence. 

Technology can get the better of some accountants and keeping up with new innovations is just too hard for them. In 2021 we had a vendor that did not have email.  It was all letters and phone calls.  MTD was very, very scary. 

Many accountants want do other things.  They may have a property portfolio that they want to develop or start a business doing something totally different.  They have the business skills to run a business so the fear of setting up a new business is not so fierce. 

Most vendors just want to retire and get away from deadlines.  They sell and have some financial resources in the bank and relax.  They take a big deep breath and slow down.   

Whatever your reason for selling we would like to help you to achieve your goal.  Please get in

touch with me, Nicola Draper, on 01788 816440 or email me at me see how I can be of assistance.  I look forward to talking to you.