For those of you that do not know, Draper Hinks only works with accountants that are in practice. We facilitate the buying and selling of accountancy practices. We cover the whole of England and are more than happy to talk to any sellers and buyers that want to use our services. We have been going for just under 20 years and completed on well over 400 deals so have some experience to share with others.
The year started off very quietly for us. We did not have the expected rush in February where sellers tell us they just “can’t do another January!”. For some reason this was delayed until into March. Then we got a number of sellers telling us that they had reached the end of their tether and if we did not find a buyer for them, they would just shut their door and tell their clients to find another accountant. It is at this point that we look at the buyers that are already registered with us to see who has immediately accessible funds, experience of having bought before, staffing resources and the willingness to complete quickly. We have managed to do a number of deals in this way, that have completed quicker than normal. Our record this year was 4 working days.
We have noted a significant number of vendors that exercise hybrid working where they have an office but a number of staff work from home part of the week and work in the office the rest of the time. This is a throwback from Covid. A lot of accountants have not fully embraced going back into the office for the full week. This can cause problems with a buyer. Some buyers insist all staff work in the office and are not happy to have any staff working from home. Compromise is always difficult but sometimes necessary to get the deal over the line.
Remote working is also becoming more popular with vendors. This is another throwback from Covid. More and more people are using Zoom or Teams instead of face to face meetings with clients. This means that when we are selling a practice we are not so fettered as we were before by only being able to look in a very tight geographic area around the site of the practice for sale. So, if you are looking to buy it is important to let us know if you would be interested in fees anywhere in the country that can be serviced remotely.
I have been asked to be a keynote speaker 5 times this year for various webinars ranging from a small local organisation to the ICAEW. In each case I have given both practical advice as to how the process works with plenty of things to consider, together with actual case studies showing multiples paid, structures of deals, time scales etc. All case studies were from recent completions giving up to date market commentary. Oh, and before you ask, yes, I would be happy to do another webinar, you know where to find me.
MTD has been put back again, what can I say. Some vendors sold because they did not want to have to deal with it and I think they might be thinking they wished they had stayed on to get another years’ profit to put into their pension pot. The Government changing their mind, who’d have thought……
Period % Practices Sold
January – March 14%
April – June 40%
July – September 26%
October – December 20%
From these figures you can see that there are more popular times in the year to sell your practice.
Ill health, stress and cancer have meant we have had to find buyers urgently. We hand hold where necessary. We worked on one case where we were available evenings and weekends to get the deal over the line quickly. Phone calls, emails and Zoom calls at all hours of the day and evening. The deal completed and the vendor passed away soon after. So sad, but so important that we were able to take the pressure off the surviving spouse who did not know what to do about the accountancy practice run by her husband. We are lucky to work with lawyers who will go the extra mile when asked.
If you want to sell an accountancy practice or buy an accountancy practice please get in touch with me, Nicola Draper, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a confidential one on one conversation on calendly using this link https://calendly.com/draper-hinks/q_a. Let me see how I can be of assistance. I look forward to talking to you. We really do go the extra mile.
We at Draper Hinks would like to wish everyone a prosperous 2024 and look forward to hearing from you in the New Year.