When it comes to a merger of accounting firms, the process can depend on way more than the bottom-line financial terms of the deal.
President and CEO of Whitman Business Advisors LLC, Philip J. Whitman, CPA, suggests many features of the firms involved will have an outsized impact on the key merger factors, such as compensation and governance.
Evaluating those features and having a plan for addressing them early on will help CPA firms navigate the M&A waters, says Whitman, one of Inside Public Accounting’s 10 Most Recommended Consultants in the country. One consideration is the firms’ client bases and how they will complement or overlap each other, says Whitman, whose firm specializes in succession strategies for CPAs and CPA firms. [He recently led a webinar, “Lean CPA M&A: Getting to the Finish Line Faster,” hosted by Sageworks.] A second is the firms’ areas of specialization – the niches within the practices that are significant and which set them apart. The chemistry between managing partners is an especially important feature to consider as well, as it relates strongly to how the two firms will explore and perhaps consummate a merger.