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Can my accountant help me sell my business?

I've discussed selling my business with my accountant and he says he can assist me. Is this a good idea? Should I be using a broker? Or, maybe I need both.

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Answers (8)
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The BAF Group LLC

Frank, I do not know your Accountant and do not mean to speak ill of him. But I have had several deals where the Accountant for the Seller has actually worked to kill the deal. He knows that he is losing a Client, when the business sells. So, it is not always in his best interests to sell. Moreover, I was just an Expert Witness for a Real Estate lawsuit, and in doing my research, I was informed by a CPA that selling a Client's property or business, on a percentage basis, can be viewed as being against the profession's code of ethics. I believe that is based on the same kind of issue as above. I do not know that to be specifically true, but it may be worth investigating, if you are going that route. Personally speaking, I have a lot of problem with Attorneys and Accountants having motivations that are potentially at odds with each other: Are they working in your best interests, or theirs.

Mar 31, 2012
Hal Janke
Sunbelt Business Brokers of San Diego
President, CBI, FIBBA
San Diego County, CA

As a Certified Business Intermediary, for 28 years in listing and selling hundreds of businesses I strongly recommend you utilize your CPA only for the allocation of purchase price. Unless your CPA is in the business of selling businesses I recommend you find a good and honest Business Intermediary/Broker.
You can go to my web site and see if I could be of service, either as a consultant/advisor or as a broker.
Hal Janke, CBI, FIBBA,, Serving Southern CA. and parts of the U.S.

Mar 31, 2012
Gerald Kong
Trinity Transaction Advisory, LLC
Premium Broker

Frank, you need an exit plan. First, have and objective; ask yourself what you want to happen from the sale of your business. Secondly, determine whether the current value is what you need and what will drive that value for you (certified appraisal). Third, assemble the team (accountant shold be part of the team) that will help. No one person is versed in all aspects of the transfer process. Next, you need to understand how to maximize the cashflow shifted to buyer. Finally, assign one person as the leader of the transition strategy. What you are after is attaining your divestiture objectives with mazimum results; titles are irrelevant. Hope this helps. Go to the link and call if you have questions.

Jul 1, 2009
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How to Buy a Business

Accountants are not deal-makers. You need a good broker who can get the deal done.

Jul 1, 2009
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I would say you should evaluate the individual rather than their title. What has he sold... How long has he been doing deals? I have met many worthless brokers, CPAs, Lawyers etc.... Sometimes, people broaden their service offering out of desperation... I would get a reference.

Jun 27, 2009
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The BAF Group LLC

Accountants are part of the team, as are attorneys, bankers, etc. He is vital to the process. But if you are thinking of having your Accountant - as GREAT as he might be - represent you in the sale of your business, it is probably not in your best interests. For one thing, depending upon how big the Accountant's practice is, and how big your business might be, where does his best interests lie? If he successfully sells your business, he loses a client. (I have seen Accountants sabotage deals, for this very reason.) And would you get his/her complete attention during Tax Season? When and how would he handle the sale of your business, if it is not his/her core business? You and your business become something to do when the main business of Accounting is slow. Otherwise, the Accounting company is forced to put its core business aside, in order to handle you, one-time deal, which may be something completely foreign to the staff. Not a terrific move on his part, it would seem to me. And selling a business is not a process of sticking a sign on the lawn and letting the World find you. It is an extremely, personally time consuming activity. Particularly if he has not done this before, he may have no idea what he is getting himself into. Finally, what's next: Is the Accountant going to take out your tonsils? Hmmmm... He/she must be REALLY good!

Apr 3, 2009
Fayaz Karim, MBA, CA
Subway Valuations, Business Searches
Orange County, CA

Accountants are good at explaining numbers
Experienced Business Brokers work with buyer and seller questions all day, so theye are the specialists.
Work with them and let them do their job and earn their fees. Accountants can help or break a deal.

Apr 3, 2009
Andrew Cagnetta
Transworld Business Brokers, LLC.
Premium Broker

With all due respect to your accountant, probably not. You need your CPA to be part of the team, but unless they sell businesses full time, your deal will get lost in the myriad of things they need to do to serve their accounting clients. Selling businesses is a specialty that requires education and expertise beyond an accountants training. Let an experienced broker quarterback your deal with your CPA being a team member,

Mar 24, 2009

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