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How to Sell a Financial Business

If you plan to retire, try selling your accountancy practise to a larger firm, or consider an internal succession with a current employee.

If you have a financial business that you are hoping to sell in the coming year or so, be sure to asses your goals and have a clear plan before you embark on this journey.

Slow, steady growth is forecast for 2020, with employment and entrepreneurship on the rise. Financial firms have both busy and slow cycles that affect cash flow; buyers are less likely to invest during a period of low earnings.

The more successful your business the better price you will secure, if you plan to set up another financial business and take your existing clients with you, this could affect the sale price. It’s best to be as honest with the vendor to avoid issues during the sale procedure.

Appoint a broker to manage the sale and act as a mediator, they will be able to give you more insight into the market and economic conditions. Spend enough time preparing for the sale, make sure both the physical building and your bookkeeping/accounts are in top shape.

Client retention

Are you planning on retiring? Or do you hope to open another financial business and take most of your clients with you? Client retention is one of the key factors considered when calculating the value of an accountancy practice; buyers rarely agree to an upfront sale.

Entrepreneurs buying a financial business are likely to agree to pay annual instalments, which are adjusted based on client retention. The continued loyalty of your clients will affect the value of the business; the quality of your clients can be just as important as the quantity.

Business meeting

To encourage your existing clients to keep using your firm, make sure your employees are efficient and capable of handling any issues or enquiries. For the new buyer can flourish, you should gradually remove yourself from the face of the business and be less hands-on with clients leading up to the sale.

Goals and objectives

Many business owners have an exit strategy in place from the outset; set manageable weekly targets that will help you prepare for the sale. Selling a business can take longer than you anticipate, make sure you’re still running the company successfully in the meantime.

What is your ideal time frame for selling? What are your plans after? How long will it take to transition to a new owner? Are there any obstacles which may cause issues? Are you where you need to be financially in order to sell? Do you have any debt you need to pay post-sale? 

Finance meeting

Make sure you have a detailed exit strategy that will take into consideration both your financial and personal goals. If you are a partner of a large firm, you may prefer to sell your equity to the remaining owners or a new interested investor.

Finding a buyerSell Your Business

You may have a potential buyer within your own professional or personal network, or you could pass on the reigns to an interested party within the firm? If you’re hiring a broker to manage the sale, try to appoint someone who has experience selling businesses within the financial sector. 

Marketing your financial business opportunity online is another way to attract potential buyers; make sure you list all vital information to avoid timewasters contacting you. A buyer will need extensive experience to run the practice, and enough capital to buy you out. Ask relevant questions that will ascertain whether they are serious buyers worth spending time on. 

If you are the sole owner of a small accountancy practise, a larger financial company may be interested in buying your business to boost its client portfolio. You may also attract more buyers if your business has adopted more advanced technology, such as cloud accounting.



Bruce Hakutizwi

About the author

USA and International BusinessesForSale.com Manager for BusinessesForSale.com, a global online marketplace for buying and selling small medium size businesses. The website has over 60,000 business listings and attracts over 1.5 million buyers to the site every month.

@BizForSaleUS

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