If you want to expand your existing accountancy business or are even starting from anew, buying an existing practice could be the way forward. There are things to look out for though, and some things you should expect to be part of the deal. Here are just a few suggestions to find the right practice to buy and to keep the clients once the sale has been completed.
Stay as Local as Possible
If you buy a practice that is 40 or 50 miles away, you will lose some of the clients for no other reason other than the traveling involved. Unless you want to keep their offices too and become a practice with more than one base, the distance can be a problem for some clients. Stay as local as you can if you do not want to take on their premises as well.
Remember that when you buy an accountancy practice you are basically paying for the goodwill, and that could disappear if you are too far away.
Use the Professionals
As an accountant, you will know that everyone is good at what they specialize in but that they should steer clear of things they are not very knowledgeable about. The same applies when you are searching for an accountancy practice for sale, you should use the experts that know how to match prospective buyers and sellers if you want the deal to be successful.
You could waste a lot of time trying to find a practice for sale yourself, and as all accountants know, time is money.
Keep the Staff Where Possible
A familiar face or two from the practice you have bought will be good for client relationships when they first come to call. It shows that you have not just thrown all the employees out of a job and that always goes down well when clients have to change accounting practice through no fault of their own. Most deals will include a clause where the selling accountant works within the new practice for a while too, and this can be the deciding factor of whether the clients stay with you or not as it gives them time to get used to your practice.
Take Care of Your New Clients
People tend to view accountants a bit like doctors. They use ones they can trust and very often get upset when they have to move to someone else. You need to show new clients that you care about them and that they can trust you too. If you do not do this, they will soon find another accountant to handle their tax affairs for them and the client base you have purchased will dwindle greatly.
There may also be a situation where you feel a client is underpaying, especially if they have been with the old practice for many years. Do not just suddenly double their fees or you will lose them very quickly.
Buying an existing accountancy practice can be a quick way to expand your business, but you need to take care to handle the takeover carefully if you want it to succeed.