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A Look at the World of Accounting Mergers and Acquisitions
Episode 444th April 2019 • Accounting Influencers Podcast • Rob Brown (Accounting Influencers Roundtable - AIR)
00:00:00 00:22:48

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Kimberley Hagues is Regional Director at Retiring Accountant, which specialises in brokering accountancy business sales. The majority of business sales she brokers are in the turnover ranges of between £50K and £1m. Over 50% of their deals are completed using a proactive, permission marketing approach where they directly engage the market searching for acquisition and exit opportunities that harmonise culturally as well as commercially.

Retiring Accountant has been established for nearly a decade and are the leading mergers and acquisitions specialist in the sector, brokering between 70 and 90 accountancy business sales every year. With a focus on aiding retiring owners exit strategies, they provide an end-to-end service for both ambitious individuals looking to grow and individuals looking to create bespoke exit strategies. They now have a register of over 1600 potential acquirers and are well experienced in alleviating the common pitfalls when moving through the M&A process. Shownotes:

  • How MTD is driving more and more accountants to retire and sell their practice
  • There are more people dying, leaving and retiring from the accounting profession than there are coming in
  • Why it’s becoming more cost effective to run a larger accounting firm than a small one
  • If you’re an accountant who wastes half your day on the phone to HMRC (UK tax revenue office) or similar, then you’re not alone
  • Keeping up with the changes in software and technology is relentless for small accounting firm owners
  • The best way retiring accountants can realise the value of their life’s work is by selling their firm
  • Accounting firms sell for 0.6 to 1.5 x GRF (gross recurring funds) depending on a number of factors

Kimberley Hagues on the BD Academy Accounting Influencers podcast with Rob Brown

  • Now is a good time for accounting owners to sell – it’s a sellers market (for every one seller there are 3-4 potential buyers)
  • An overview of the process involved in selling or buying an accounting firm
  • Why price is one of the least important factors when a selling accountant decides to put their firm on the market
  • The kind of people that buy accounting firms – you might be surprised
  • Why the owner being available for a ‘handover period of 1-2 years increases the value of an accounting firm when selling
  • The best time to think about selling (or buying) an accounting firm is when you don’t actually have to
  • The critical factors that bump up the capital value of an accounting firm
  • Why having an accounting client that makes up 10% or more of your revenue is not a good idea
  • The importance of digitisation to increase capital value – some acquirers won’t take on paper or desktop based firms
  • Some organic growth strategies can be limited, which is where acquisition becomes a viable option for accounting growth
  • With the right kind of handover from a selling accounting owner to a buying firm, retention rates can be up to 95%
  • What retiring accountants look for in prospective buyers when looking to sell their practice
  • The 4 main reasons why sales of accounting firms fall through
  • Why it’s best dealing with brokers rather than buying and selling accounting firms yourself
  • The differences between a share sale and an asset sale when selling or acquiring an accounting practice.

Kimberley Hagues on the BD Academy Accounting Influencers podcast with Rob Brown

In her free time, Kimberley supports the community as an agency care volunteer once a week, helping to alleviate isolation and loneliness for older people who have little or no contact with people. In addition, she is a keen netball player, enjoys self-learning various piano pieces and appreciates spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about Kimberley, visit or contact her:

Phone (44) 7975 588 044


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