In 2021, we worked successfully on M&A with firms ranging from $1.5 to $250 million in annual revenue.
Here are five lessons from those transactions to put you on the road to succession success:
Time is money. The longer the parties take to come to an agreement and paper the deal, the more likely it is that the contemplated terms will change. Depending on which side of the table you are on, the change may be favorable—or less so.
Confidence matters. All parties to a deal will be different after the transaction. Taking a positive approach to a change in procedures, and making a commitment to the mission of aligning firms, will make the negotiations go better—and potentially provide more intangible upside to all.
Vision is essential. The parties to a deal will always be driven by the financial impact of the deal, but the vision will drive the viability of the financial impact. Lack of common vision will prolong conversation and tee a deal up for difficulty.
Data rules. CPAs are metric masters, so having the necessary data available quickly and accurately will be essential to determine how well-matched the parties are. Neither party have to be the top achiever, but if the disparity is too significant between the two, and the better achiever is significantly smaller than the larger firm, the flags will go up.
Vet early and diligently. Each party will have priorities and concerns. The sooner the parties put their cards on the table, the better. Lots of firms are thinking about or engaged in M&A, so common ground and viability need to be assessed promptly. By the third meeting, you are either in the right conversation or not.
When done right, M&A can make a lot of dreams come true, but generally not all. If you are seeking perfection, M&A is not for you. If you can be happy with significant improvement, then your dreams are more likely to come true.