Reading time: 3 minutes

This guest post was written by Richard Hentworth of Industrial Business Brokers. 

An accountant specialises in financial statements and number crunching, so why would a business owner ask their accountant to put on a salesperson’s hat? Below, we set out four reasons why your accountant shouldn’t sell your business.

1. Overcomplicating the Nature of the Business

An accountant can quickly transform your business profile into a book with statistics and graphs, analysis and extended stories and descriptions. Business purchasers, however, view many profiles in their search and need a simplified snapshot to see if the business is a good match for their skills and experience. If it is, they will inspect the business to discover more.

Caution: Ensure the business profile is concise and does not reveal any confidential information used to pad out the document.

Buyer’s Tip: Cut through fancy graphs and long-winded stories by highlighting key areas of interest and concern.

2. Networking and Marketing

A conveyancer can talk to lots of people who buy and sell real estate. This does not mean they have a list of active buyers or will market your business appropriately. The same goes for an accountant who is acting as an estate agent.

Caution: Check if the accountant has a compliant exclusive authority which typically lasts for 180 days. If your accountant cannot sell your business in that timeframe and seems only to discuss dealing with one party, speak to a specialised broker quickly.

Buyer’s Tip: Bid low – the chances are the accountant isn’t negotiating with anyone else.

3. Conflict of Interest

Accountants typically become involved in the sale of a business during the due diligence stage. If the accountant is also selling the business, the vendor may miss information about any issues, delays, or losing a genuine buyer.

Caution: Accountants are unlikely familiar with estate agent statutory laws and are not registered as estate agents. Be wary of an accountant asking you to get a specialised business broker to do the market appraisal and then offering to secure you a higher price.

Buyer’s Tip: Ensure you extend due diligence to include bank statements and other information to triple check financial statements.

4. Fees vs Commission

Accountants usually charge an hourly fee which can quickly add up and may not suit your budget.

Caution: A prospect’s interest may get dragged on without anything happening to ensure fees continue. Ensure the accountant is maintaining advertising and harnessing other leads.

Buyer’s Tip: Be patient in communicating over a few months as the vendor may become exhausted and give you a great deal.

In short, a business broker specialises in the sale of businesses, and an accountant specialises in financial statements. Having the right professionals perform their work respectively is the best way to ensure great results. Also, if your accountant is recommending a particular business broker, ask them if they receive a “referral fee”. If they say they work alongside another business broker or M&A firm, ask them to disclose any “commission sharing”.

Webinars

Redundancies and Restructuring: Understanding Your Employer Obligations

Thursday 7 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
If you plan on making a role redundant, it is crucial that you understand your employer obligations. Our free webinar will explain.
Register Now

How to Sponsor Foreign Workers For Your Tech Business

Wednesday 13 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Need web3 talent for your tech business? Consider sponsoring workers from overseas. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Advertising 101: Social Media, Influencers and the Law

Thursday 21 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how to promote your business on social media without breaking the law. Register for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Structuring for Certainty in Uncertain Times

Tuesday 26 July | 12:00 - 12:45pm

Online
Learn how to structure to weather storm and ensure you can take advantage of the “green shoots” opportunities arising on the other side of a recession.
Register Now

Playing for the Prize: How to Run Trade Promotions

Thursday 28 July | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Running a promotion with a prize? Your business has specific trade promotion obligations. Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

Web3 Essentials: Understanding SAFT Agreements

Tuesday 2 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Learn how SAFT Agreements can help your Web3 business when raising capital. Register today for our free webinar.
Register Now

Understanding Your Annual Franchise Update Obligations

Wednesday 3 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
Franchisors must meet annual reporting obligations each October. Understand your legal requirements by registering for our free webinar today.
Register Now

Legal Essentials for Product Manufacturers

Thursday 11 August | 11:00 - 11:45am

Online
As a product manufacturer, do you know your legal obligations if there is a product recall? Join our free webinar to learn more.
Register Now

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a commercial law firm that provides businesses with affordable and ongoing legal assistance through our industry-first membership.

By becoming a member, you'll have an experienced legal team ready to answer your questions, draft and review your contracts, and resolve your disputes. All the legal assistance your business needs, for a low monthly fee.

Learn more about our membership

Need Legal Help? Submit an Enquiry

If you would like to get in touch with our team and learn more about how our membership can help your business, fill out the form below.

Our Awards

  • 2020 Innovation Award 2020 Excellence in Technology & Innovation Finalist – Australasian Law Awards
  • 2020 Employer of Choice Award 2020 Employer of Choice Winner – Australasian Lawyer
  • 2020 Financial Times Award 2021 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2021 Law Firm of the Year Award 2021 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards
  • 2022 Law Firm of the Year Winner 2022 Law Firm of the Year - Australasian Law Awards