Accounting Practice Exchange provides a comprehensive directory of accounting and tax practices for sale in the US, which you can browse through by area, type of practice, size and gross revenue. You can also use this site to sell or inquire about selling your own firm by navigating to the relevant tab on our home page.
We also provide unbiased, impartial advice and information about everything related to this thriving buyer’s market, including guidelines on finding a tax business for sale, why you might consider going through with an acquisition (rather than starting your own business from scratch) and some of the technical and logistic aspects worth knowing beforehand.
This page firstly explains the reasons as to why buying an already established accounting business could make sense for you, as a qualified accountant or tax professional.
We’ll then run through a list of Accounting Practice Exchange’s ‘Top Tips’ for buying accounting and tax business for sale.
Why buy a tax practice?
In most industries, entrepreneurs tend to start out by building up their own businesses from scratch. There are obvious benefits to this; for example, the business owner has the freedom to decide how the business will operate, the recruitment policy, where it will be located, who it will work with (in terms of clients), how it is branded, and so.
Essentially, the founder or founders have control over everything from day-one and are starting out with a blank slate.
However, the nature of the accounting and tax practice industry is different to most, meaning that the option ‘to buy’ rather than ‘to start up’ can make a lot of sense for those looking for tax firms for sale.
This is because many firms operate in very similar ways in terms of what work is carried out, as well as how it is carried out. So while establishing a new business from nothing might seem exciting, the end result probably isn’t going to be particularly different to the rest of the completion, thus meaning young startups are at a disadvantage, which can be difficult to overcome.
As well as simply avoiding the pitfalls of starting a new business, prospective buyers also gain a number of advantages – if they plan carefully and conduct full due diligence (which will be explained further in the next section).
The main, and most obvious advantage of acquiring an already up and running firm, such as an income tax business for sale, is that the revenue should be rolling in from the moment you take over ownership. This is primarily due to the fact that you will be purchasing a firm that already has paying, and hopefully very loyal, clients, meaning you aren’t under as much pressure to start looking for new accounts immediately.
Plus, well-planned-out acquisitions shouldn’t normally disrupt the normal course of business; your employees will still be going about their daily work, with the firm’s clients and accountants already in place.
Of course, there may be a certain level of reshuffling in terms of clients and it is important to take the necessary steps to retain existing accounts but, in most cases, that above statement - ‘revenue begins from day-one’ – does run true.
As for revenue from a newly-established firm? That could take weeks or even months; turning a profit even longer and then finally seeing a return on investment? Perhaps years.
The list of advantages can go on, but one final (and major) consideration as to why buying a tax practice for sale by owner is a wise idea is the fact that you will avoid having to go through each and every step of setting up a business.
Firstly, this can be a laborious process (for example, having to obtain the correct licenses to operate and register a new business). Secondly, some CPAs and tax professionals simply don’t have an adequate level of business know-how in terms of physically setting up a new firm from scratch.
Some of these seemingly smaller things, such as branding your business, recruitment, finding and leasing out office space, and obtaining licenses, can quickly accumulate, causing unnecessary hassle when the current market is full of opportunity, including the chance to buy a relocatable tax business for sale as well as an online tax business for sale.
Top tips on buying a tax practice
So, you’re now convinced that snapping up a tax practice for sale on our site is the best option for you. And while taking over an already successful business might be a more straightforward option compared to starting your own CPA firm, there are some important things to take into consideration before, during and after your purchase.
Below, we run you through some top tips in relation to acquiring an accounting firm or income tax business for sale.
Find the right seller for you – and consider their motivations to sell
The reason as to why any business owner would want to sell up shop is extremely important to find out – and trust. On the extreme end of the scale, some might be looking to offload a failing business and cut their losses. However, this is unusual and simple to avoid; for example, a thorough due diligence check into a tax preparation business for sale would uncover how profitable it is, whether it has been losing clients, and, most importantly, whether it has been losing money.
On the other end of the scale, a CPA owner might be reaching retirement age and looking to cash in quick (for those all-important retirements funds), despite the fact that if they held out longer for a higher price, they’d probably get it. This case would present a potentially lucrative buy for those looking to get the best value for money when purchasing a tax firm for sale.
Start your due diligence with a sit-down meeting with the owner/firm partners
Meticulously going through the financial records of a firm is paramount – especial to ascertain whether there are any irregularities in their books or to see if profits are on an upwards or downwards trend.
That said, the first thing you should do when deciding to buy a tax or accountancy practice is to sit down with the most senior management – which could be the founder, manager, partner or a combination.
The reason for this is simple; you need to make sure the firm operates in the same or similar way to which it will be operating under your new guidance. If management’s general values and business philosophy doesn’t match up with yours, you could be heading towards conflict with your newly acquired clients in the near future, as they may not be accommodating to your alternative methods of getting the job done.
Be open to all possibilities
In the world of tax practice sales, we see many owners who are looking to sell their business for a fixed or negotiable price completely outright; in this same relation, many buyers are also determined only to take full control of a company (after all, gaining outright control of a profitable business for a lump sum is a pretty tempting thought).
However, many tax businesses for sale are open to mergers, while others may simply be looking for talented CPAs to buy into their business and take partial control as a partner.
These are all options that you should consider in your quest for a tax business for sale.
Stay in line with your areas of expertise when initially searching for an accounting tax business for sale
This point ties in closely with the point we covered earlier emphasizing the importance of consolidating the firm’s client base following the takeover. To retain trust and then, hopefully, going on to improve business relationships, it’s important that you are able to fulfill the requirements and expectations of your clients.
While some larger accounting firms cover a broad spectrum of different services, some focus on more niche fields such as income tax (you can search for ‘income tax return preparation business for sale’, ‘income tax business for sale’ or ‘tax prep business for sale’).
Look at tax clients for sale
Again, this follows from the previous point in terms of how flexible and open you should be while searching for a tax preparer business for sale or accounting tax business for sale.
You may find, during your extensive searches and communication with CPA owners, that lucrative clients and accounts are up for sale. This may provide excellent potential for existing business owners or represent an option for those looking to start up their own firms and get new clients on their books from the start.
We here at Accounting Practice Exchange hope this page covering the exciting field of accounting tax practice sales has been of use to those interested in the subject and contemplating purchasing a CPA tax practice for sale, either now or in the future.
You can also use our search function (via the homepage) or see our other resources and articles covering the topic of tax accounting business for sale.