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Due Diligence & Transition

Do's and Don'ts of Due Diligence

Originally published in Journal of Accountancy, June 2014
Due diligence is the assessment of the legal, financial, and business risks associated with a merger or acquisition. It is totally appropriate and recommended that both parties involved in a transaction perform due diligence on each other, regardless of the deal's nature and whether you are buying, selling, or merging. This article discusses when you should conduct due diligence, what you should review, and how to interpret and react to the findings.
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How to Maximize Client Retention After a Merger

Originally published in Journal of Accountancy, April 2014
The retention of clients is essential to a successful merger of accounting firms. Most deals are structured so that the payments from the acquiring firm to the selling firm are based, at least in part, on the percentage of clients that stay with the post-merger firm during a specified retention period. In other words, the departure of clients from the acquiring firm results in lower payments to the selling firm, providing a healthy incentive for selling firms to facilitate a transition that encourages clients to stick with the acquiring firm post-merger.
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Retaining Clients During a Firm Transition

Originally published as a chapter in the ebook, Next Level Accountants: Your Guide to Growing a Firm of Trusted Advisors by Mary Ellen Biery. 
If you'd like to download the complete book, visit Sageworks.com 
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The Long Goodbye

Originally published in Journal of Accountancy, August 2013
The best time for an accounting firm to start work on a succession plan is the day the firm is formed. Of course, most firms don't do that. The question in many cases has become: "How quickly can I put together a succession plan and head into retirement?" The answer depends on a number of factors.
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Keeping It Together (Part 2 of 2)

Originally published in the Journal of Accountancy, April 2009
This article looks at the challenge of retaining clients and staff immediately after the merger. Retention should be addressed through a properly designed and executed transition plan, which should be divided into two retention sections: clients and staff.
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Short-Sighted Mistakes Made In Due Diligence

Originally published in AICPA Small Firm Solutions, Late Summer 2009
When valuing a business, historical data is a key concern, but proper due diligence also requires a strong focus on the future. A merged or acquired firm is a different entity from what it once was, and the effects of this transformation must be considered in sizing up any potential deal. Here are some examples in which data about the current firm don’t tell the entire story.
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The Value of a Smooth Transition in Tough Times

Originally published in the AICPA SMALL FIRM SOLUTIONS, Spring 2009
During a time of economic uncertainty, both buyers and sellers will be giving extra scrutiny to all aspects of a merger or acquisition. A key measure of a deal’s success is the percentage of clients retained after-wards. To plan for the highest level of retention possible, start by considering why you have your clients. Most are unaware of your competency level. They trust that you are knowledgeable and capable, but the key word is trust. You are their most trusted business adviser and this trust can be taken advantage of, in a professional and ethical way, and should not be feared.
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Transition Plan - Transitioning Clients and Staff During a Merger or Acquisition

Originally published in MSCPA's The Asset July 2006
You’ve identified the firm you are going to buy, sell or merge with, worked out the terms of the deal, and know how you will operate after the closing. How do you transition clients and staff to maximize retention?
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Due Diligence Before Buying or Selling an Accounting Practice

Originally published in the CPA Journal by the New York State Society of CPAs February 2005
Many think that due diligence is the first step before negotiating the purchase or sale of a professional practice. This is not necessarily correct.
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