It's no secret that mergers and acquisitions are an active part of the accounting profession today.As owners reach retirement age, they are looking for someone to buy them out and allow them to move on to a well-earned retirement. At the same time, growing firms are looking for merger candidates to gain clients, gain access to needed staff skills, or to establish a presence in a desired market location. With a marketplace like this of buyers and sellers, it's no wonder there is plenty of activity!

Unfortunately, far too often the M&A process is conducted in tight secrecy, with only a privileged few aware that the acquisition is even being planned, let alone the timelines and agreed-upon conditions. In this scenario, it's not unusual for the IT staff of the gaining firm to be told, "We're bringing in 20 new people next week. Get them set up and ready to work."

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