Art of Accounting: Advising clients on selling or buying a business

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About three years ago, I was helping a client sell his business in what was a pretty typical negotiation for me. However, the client exhibited apprehension almost every step of the way.

I tried to assure him that everything was progressing as normal, and then decided to prepare a listing of all of the steps and with the hiccups that occur along the way. I went over it with the client and told him I will definitely let him know when the negotiations veered off course. The list worked wonders and the client must have thanked me 20 times during that period. Earlier this year, I went over the list with one of my colleagues, Lou Young at Withum, who made some additions and changes. It was posted at QuickReadBuzz.com. Lou then suggested a task list for someone buying a business and that was also posted at QRB.

Concurrent with this, I used the lists as the basis for two webinars I recently presented at CPAacademy.org that were attended by over 2,000 people. I prepared 30 pages of added information to send to the attendees the night of the presentation. The information included two task lists, two consultation engagement proposals (one for clients that want to sell and another for those that want to buy) I use with clients, and a bunch of blogs I posted that would provide added insights to clients and their advisors.

Presenting speeches and webinars and writing articles takes effort, but it is gratifying. It enables me to share my experiences with colleagues. I invariably learn something when I prepare and write the script, handouts or articles. I encourage my colleagues to do this and offer whatever assistance I can. In that vein, if any reader wants to get started, contact me; I’ll coach and help you and direct you to a publisher. Just email me with three topics and include your phone number so I can call you back. Just the topic, not the reason or explanation of why you chose that topic. It isn’t hard and takes little effort to write down three short topics. It might even lead to you being published.

I will be glad to email you the handout I prepared, which is a pretty good guide to performing these services. Just email me at GoodiesFromEd@withum.com and put "M&A" as the subject. Please do not write any messages. I handle the responses myself and sometimes I get an overwhelming number of requests (which I appreciate, since it means you are reading my columns). Stopping to read the comments adds time and delays my replies.

If you want to see what free webinars I will be presenting, go to withum.CPAacademy.org and look for my schedule.

Do not hesitate to contact me at emendlowitz@withum.com with your practice management questions or about engagements you might not be able to perform.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People list. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition.” Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at www.partners-network.com along with the Pay-Less-Tax Man blog for Bottom Line. Ed is an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University teaching end user applications of financial statements. Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 743-4582 or emendlowitz@withum.com.

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Small business Accounting firm services Ed Mendlowitz M&A