I started my practice from scratch a few years ago. While things are
going well, I'm realizing that it takes time to develop referral
What's frustrating is trying to find a situation that allows me to grow
my practice without losing my healthcare (and eventually, my home)
while the practice grows. I've worked with several CPA's who a) are
unwilling to pay a fair wage, b)will only give you a tiny percentage of
the fees you bring in, or c) act like it's a priviledge to be
considered a potential buyer.
It's these last ones that really get me. I'm in my late 30's, and there
are MANY more retiring CPAs that people ready to take over. At the very
least, they should recognize the value of having a ready successor,
rather than simply selling to another firm or (worse yet) walking away.
Has anyone else felt this way about the market, or am I missing
Sounds like you have it backwards. While there are valuable virtues to
certain buyers of firms, no one is lining up to pay a buyer to take over a
practice. Quite the contrary, the value lies in the clients to be bought
(or not), and there is additional value in the transition (ie: the seller
sticking around to help smooth the transition)
All my clients have a special place in my heart, even the PIA's (or the doc
could be right about that ulcer). In any event, I've cultivated them,
nurtured them, and kept the relationship, not only alive, but growing. It
would pain me, not to mention be highly un-cool, to turn them over to
someone that doesn't care about them much past the annual fee they can
And, for most firms out there, it is a priviledge to be considered a
potential buyer of their babies. You should act that way too. Get to know
the potentially retiring CPA. He has to be confident that you'll do a good
job for his clients. Remember, he has to sell you to his clients.
Thanks for your thoughts. I see your point about the close ties to
one's clients that have been around for years. And I completely
understand that it's the relationship with the CPA (and his successor)
that makes the practice valuable.
Where I think some older CPAs get off track is when they evaluate what
a younger buyer brings. I've met CPAs who do little marketing (and
have little growth), don't use computers with any proficiency, and are
generally happy with running things as they've always been run. (I met
one CPA who hand-wrote all his e-mails so his secretary could type them
in and send them!)
I know that the key to a practice is top-line growth and not
cost-saving measures, but for practitioners like this to insist they've
got an asset I should be dying to buy is a bit optimistic. I see a
practice that desparately needs a breath of life and a good
house-cleaning. Not an asset without value by any stretch, but not one
I'm going to pay a premium for.
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