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Pattern in firm sell-offs leaves consultant 'gobsmacked'

Pattern in firm sell-offs leaves consultant 'gobsmacked'

Some accounting and bookkeeping firms are selling themselves, and their clients, short by shutting up shop in a commercially inefficient way, according to one business consultant.

Bookkeeper Miranda Brownlee 04 January 2018
— 1 minute read

Mayflower director Sarah Penn said she noticed throughout the tail end of 2017 that some business owners looking to exit their firm have simply shut their businesses, as opposed to selling off their client books. 

“They've had a bookkeeping business or a small suburban accounting firm and they have literally just retired. They’ve told all their clients “it's been really great looking after you; we're retiring at the end of this year so you'll need to let us know where to send your files’,” said Ms Penn.

“I was a little bit gobsmacked considering how many people at the moment want to grow their businesses and want to acquire other client books and businesses.”

Other consultants and business brokers have found the market for smaller accounting and bookkeeping firms to be particularly strong. 

It’s also surprising given that for a lot of small business owners, their superannuation plan is selling their business, said Ms Penn. 

“Regardless of how much time everyone in this industry spends managing other people's superannuation, a lot of accountants and advisers in any small business are pretty useless at looking at their own superannuation, and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is selling their business,” she said.

Ms Penn said with only around half of all individuals actually retiring when they choose to, it’s important that business owners from the age of 50 onwards think about what they want to do with their business, even if they’re not ready to take action yet.

Pattern in firm sell-offs leaves consultant 'gobsmacked'
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