A quick look at the age demographic of CPA firm partners, and it’s easy to predict that a majority of CPA firm partner equity interests will change hands over the next decade. Unfortunately, the majority of the firms involved in forthcoming mergers & acquisitions will underperform due to lack of strategic fit; inadequate due diligence; and failure to properly plan, fund, and execute an effective integration process. They may even fail completely. The critical work of a merger or acquisition begins long before the ink on the agreement dries and continues for months after.
When it comes to mergers & acquisitions, small mistakes and oversights can have big consequences. Bringing in experienced professionals to guide you through the process is an investment that more than pays for itself. They can help you avoid costly oversights and ensure you get the best value. With more than 100 mergers under their belts, our consultants can help you through all the phases of a successful merger or acquisition.
Strategy & Assessment
Mergers are hard work and loaded with risk which is why critical questions need the right answers. What is the strategy behind the merger? Are ALL of the partners on board? Is it truly a good choice both for clients and staff? What will we do to retain both? Are the assumed synergies between the two firms real?
The due diligence process is more than just an audit. In addition to financial data and discovery of “deal killers”, due diligence should include a strategic component. This is the time to verify the value proposition of the merger; not after closing. There are many questions to be answered at this stage: Are the cultures compatible? Will the merger enhance client retention? Will the merger create opportunities to attract larger or more lucrative clients, but also tougher new competitors? Will we retain talent and become more attractive to prospective employees?
The integration phase needs to be a guided by a comprehensive plan with measureable benchmarks and a senior member of the firm who will own the process. The plan should address many of the issues that commonly prevent mergers and acquisition from maximizing their ROI. Does the integration plan focus on clients and staff and the retention of both? Does it get quickly past internal systems and policy matters and move the firm to an external focus? Does it address the infrastructure needs of the combined firm, which may be quite different than the needs of the separate firms?