Deal done:
Sale of an Accountancy Practice in London

Turnover:   £300k
Deal completed in:       4 months

The Accountancy Practice

The accountancy practice was based in London and had an established client base of SME’s for its accounting services. It had a particular focus on foreign start-up businesses, international joint ventures, European entrepreneurs as well as global scale operations and investors. The practice had a varied client base with c.170 clients requiring regular accounts, tax and company secretarial services, categorised as Gross Recurring Fees (GRF) and which accounted for around 80%, the remainder being consultancy project work. The GRF was c. £235,000 and the client base was evenly spread with no one client representing more than 11% of the revenue.

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The situation

The practice was established and run by one owner director. Having spent his career so far in accountancy, the owner was looking to leave or take an extended break from the profession in order to set-up an investment business.

Having known Hornblower for a number of years, and seen what we had achieved in the sale of other professional service businesses, the owner came to us to sell his accountancy practice.

What Hornblower did

There is significant demand amongst accountancy practices in London and across the UK to acquire “books” of clients from existing partnerships. As such there is a relatively standard range of valuations and deal structures based around GRF. The trick was to harness the enormous amount of interest we generated and achieve the best terms for our client.

Within one month we secured 12 offers all of which exceeded our clients’ expectations. Over the next few weeks we honed this down to 3 front runners and secured a full market value with 50% paid on completion and the remainder paid within 12 months.

The deal was completed in 4 months from our starting to market the practice for sale.

WIN WIN

The buyer was an accountancy firm of similar size from south east London. The clients for both practices were similar in nature and demographic ; the service pricing was also similar for both parties, so all-in-all the acquisition was a good strategic fit for the buyer’s practice.

As well as gaining a new additional client base, the buyer was able to benefit from synergies including premises, staffing and advertising.

The sale enabled the owner to raise significant funds for his investment business; at the same time he was released from the day-to-day running of the accountancy practice and able to focus on his other investment projects.

SOLD – January 2012

Hornblower Business Brokers – experienced and successful in selling accountancy practices.