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M&A Is Heating Up in 2021. Get Practical Tips to Get Ready.

There’s no doubt mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are becoming more and more a lifeline for many CPA firms, and the accounting field is seeing an uptick now in the new year. Here's what a few industry experts are saying:

“You’re going to see more and more mergers ... in the next year — we’re already

starting to see it — than we’ve seen probably any time in this century.”

– Allan Koltin, CEO, Koltin Consulting Group, Thomson Reuters

“ ...[M]any small and midsized firms have yet to realize that they need ... M&A transactions

to supplement their growth, buy talent, and ... get larger, stronger and better.”

– Dom Esposito, CEO, CEO2CEO, Accounting Today

“I see a number of trends in 2021 that ... are directly related to the pandemic .... Firms with more senior owners will want to cash in and get out, rather than practice in this new environment of remote working and technology-driven relationships.”

–Mark Koziel, president and CEO, Allinial Global, Accounting Today

Get Prepared for M&A Changes

Here are 10 important changes to think through as you consider M&A at your firm.

  1. Change in Billing Methodology. Will there be more pressure? Will there be specific targets and requirements?

  2. Infrastructure. How will (and do) people interface with the Firm Administrator, Marketing team, HR and IT? How will decisions be made on change and continuity in these areas?

  3. Review Process. Will there be more layers of review? What turnaround time is acceptable?

  4. Scheduling. How are priorities going to be set? How far in advance is the process managed? How will conflicts be resolved?

  5. Client Acceptance/Dismissal. How detailed a process will it be? What standards dictate? What triggers the process?

  6. Influence and Stature. What are the lines of responsibility going to look like? What job description will drive the role? Are expectations in place and what would they mean?

  7. Accountability. How loose/tight is the monitoring? What impact will accountability have on compensation?

  8. Decision-Making. Will there be a need to change the method of governance? What impact is right and comfortable for individual partners?

  9. Problem Resolution. How comfortable and effective is the method of resolving problems with partners and what change will be necessary, if any?

  10. Lifestyle. Will changes improve your lifestyle as an owner? Will complications be short-lived or longer term?

When it comes to major changes and decisions like M&A, it’s never easy to dig deep to think through the impact of those changes on your firm. However, if you don’t think and plan ahead, your odds of success will be diminished significantly.

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