Find an Accountant for Your Acquisition

Katie Fleming

Katie Fleming

Co-founder and COO of Owner Actions

An accountant sits at a desk with a computer, reviewing financial documents.

You'll need to find a knowledgeable business accountant for any small business acquisition—and for all the work that follows.

Here's why: An accountant can help you make sense of your target company’s financials, tax returns, and valuations and spot the red flags you need to know before agreeing to a deal. An accountant can also help you finetune your financial strategy, make forecasts, and ensure that you have your taxation bases covered once you acquire your business.

 

Can I afford an accountant?

Accounting services are a cost that you must factor in.

Many high-quality business accountants charge between $100-$300 per hour, and while the cost may seem high, they can be worth every penny. The time they spend navigating the financial aspects of your purchase is time you can use for other important tasks, like developing your business plan, securing financing, or negotiating the terms of your deal. And, their knowledge of financials and taxation will be invaluable as you form assessments about the business.

 

How can I find an accountant?

Many business owners turn to other pros they work with for a referral. Some also use online services to connect with accountants who are familiar with small business needs.

There are several online options that many business owners love to use. Check out these options and see if one is right for your business:

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Reconciled

Your Business Deserves the Very Best

Reconciled is an award-winning organization and one of the fastest-growing accounting firms in the country. Their team of entrepreneurship gurus, e-commerce pros, and tech-loving cloud accounting specialists look at your business holistically and help you analyze your spending, measure costs, and find opportunities to enhance margin and profitability, along with taking on your day-to-day bookkeeping. Want to learn more? Click the connect button below for an introduction.

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Xendoo

Be Tax Ready All Year Long

With Xendoo, you can access a dedicated team of expert CPAs and accountants who provide monthly bookkeeping, tax preparation and filing, and tax consulting, three services that will help you stay on top of all your financial needs. Their team can also help you with your personal tax returns, too. You can explore their plans with totally transparent pricing by following the link below, and for a limited time, you can try their online bookkeeping service free for one month. Restrictions may apply. See Xendoo's site for details.

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1-800Accountant

Say Hello to Better Online Accounting

Business owners love 1-800Accountant. Here's why. First, the service pairs you with a CPA who is an expert in your state and industry and can answer the tough questions you have about your business. Second, while many others charge by the hour, or worse, by minute, 1-800Accountant sets you up with an affordable, flat-rate pricing plan so you always know what you'll be paying. Follow this link to try 1-800Accountant for 30 days with a money-back guarantee.

 

Which qualifications should I look for?

Many top-tier accountants are certified public accountants (CPAs). This designation is an industry-standard verification of an accountant’s knowledge and expertise in the field of public accounting. Try to find an accountant in your area who has this designation and a sufficient level of experience in handling small businesses’ financial needs.

Before retaining an accountant’s services, consider speaking with accountants from several firms to learn about the breadth of their experience, their capabilities, their style of communication, and their fee structure. To home in on the best accounting candidates, consider asking the following questions:

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Experience

How many customers have you helped through a small business acquisition?

Can I talk to some of your customers about their experiences?

Knowledge

How can you help me through my acquisition and later, after my transition to ownership?

What are the qualifications of the person in your office who would handle my request?

Process

What is the standard turnaround time to complete a small business evaluation?

How frequently will you communicate with me throughout the process?

Connections

Do you have connections to valuation specialists, attorneys, or other experts who might help me with other parts of my acquisition?

Cost

Do you charge per hour or by project?

Can you provide me with a written estimate of your costs?

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How do I move forward?

Use each accountant’s responses to assess their skills and qualifications. Then, pair what you learn with online reviews, verification of licensure, a review of the practice’s website, and web searches to ensure you have enough information about your accountant candidates to make an informed decision.

Some accountants will allow you to negotiate their rates, so once you’ve made your selection, you may consider asking for a reduction in fees, especially if they are out of alignment with the rates other highly qualified accountants are charging. Then, write an engagement letter that spells out the services you require; the duration of time you’ll need assistance; and the fees you’ll pay upfront, throughout the process, and at the close of your acquisition.

Once you find an accountant, you can shift your focus to finding other key members of your acquisition team, including an attorney and a valuation specialist. You can start connecting with these professionals through the search tool at the bottom of this page.

 

What's next?

Log into your owner’s portal to obtain a step-by-step guide to buying a business and articles and advice that can help you with every part of your acquisition.

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