A very recent case study

At the beginning of March this year, Draper Hinks was referred to a case in the North East of England where the owner had to sell his accountancy practice as a matter of urgency. 

Here are the bare bones of the case:-

  • Fees less than £50k.
  • No website.
  • Sole practitioner.
  • No staff.
  • Worked from home.
  • Paper based.
  • All cost savings from working from home passed to the clients.
  • Fees were below market rate.
  • New business from word of mouth and referral.
  • Vendor aged over 65.

This is the epitome of a lifestyle practice.  The sole practitioner was happy running his business from home, making a modest income, low stress, happy clients and looking to downsize naturally as the clients retired and stopped working.

Then the pandemic hit and during 2020 the owner was seriously scammed out of an amount of money (well in excess of six figures) by some unscrupulous people.  The practitioner’s world was turned upside down.  What was supposed to be a gentle walk into retirement turned into a nightmare that needed to be resolved immediately because the owner suffered a complete nervous breakdown and was unable to work.  There was no one to answer the phone, reply to emails or do any work.

Draper Hinks was asked to step in.

We immediately set to work and were able to find a number of keen buyers.  This list of buyers was reduced to only two firms, both were interviewed for suitability, ability to move fast, readily available funds and previous experience of buying.   Arrangements were made for each firm to carry out a nominal amount of due diligence.  One buyer decided it was not for him and he pulled out.  The second firm put in an offer which was accepted.  The buyer then put together a simple contract for the vendor to sign and the deal was done in just over a week. 

After completion, the first thing the buyer did was to put an out of office on the vendor’s emails saying the practice had been taken over.  All calls were redirected to the new firm.  A client list had to be compiled from paper files and the buyers are currently in the process of contacting all clients by phone, email and letter.  One of the partners in the new firm could see how it would be a fantastic team building exercise for his staff.  He knew they would all pull together to get on top of any outstanding work.  All overtime would be paid for with the odd pizza thrown in for good measure.

It upset us greatly to hear how someone had been taken advantage of in this way and we made this case an absolute priority.  The vendor was able to get some money for his practice and more importantly was able to stop stressing and making himself ill, knowing all his clients were being well taken care of. 

If you find that you are going to have to sell your practice as a matter of urgency, then call us on 01788 816440 and ask to speak to Nicola Draper.  If you come to us, we will do our utmost to find a suitable buyer for you.  We have brokered over 320 deals, so have a lot of experience in this marketplace.  Everything discussed is totally confidential.  You can contact me, Nicola Draper, on 01788 816440 or email me at n.draper@draperhinks.co.uk