Professional services disposal

Sector: Professional Services sector

Size (Number of employees) : Team of 10

Location: Dublin

Business Issue : A professional services business serving hundreds of clients to be sold in six months

Background: Due to a family relocation, I decided to exit my Dublin accountancy practice. My goal was to complete a trade sale within six months and prior to the next busy tax reporting period. My intention was to cease involvement in the business immediately post acquisition, without any loss of confidence in the business, or decline in client service or staff satisfaction levels.

Challenge: To prepare the business for sale, identify a buyer and ensure a smooth transition for clients and staff within six months. This required an accurate and acceptable valuation, completion of legal responsibilities and swift completion of operational practicalities.

Solutions: I determined to lead the business on a ‘ready to sell’ basis. Management information and real-time reporting mechanisms were put in place. Annual client fees and direct debit arrangements were agreed early, indicating reliable cashflow.

Able to evidence the practice as an attractive prospect, a multiple of recurring fee valuation model could be agreed.

I agreed terms with the master franchisor and follow-on legal agreements for any future contract work.

Throughout the process, I communicated regularly and clearly with clients and staff.

Our approach: I held phone and in-person meetings with the purchaser. We agreed realistic timelines and adopted an agile approach, regularly checking progress and barriers to actions.

To ensure transparency and time savings, group calls were held with my legal team and the master franchisor.

I issued regular communications to all stakeholders, detailing progress along a shared plan of action and delivered to deadlines that were critical to a successful outcome.

Benefits: We achieved a win-win for vendor and purchaser.

Personally and professionally, it was important to me that my team and clients continued to be well looked after. I am so confident in the continuity of a quality service that I am able to refer leads into the practice.

The purchaser was able to offer staff development opportunities through the acquisition. In addition, I was delighted that the purchaser was able to step into a role with Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Chamber of Commerce role where I was a past-president.

What did we achieve? We achieved a successful sale for all stakeholders over a very short timeline.

“I feel very satisfied with the outcome of the sale for all parties, and proud of how it was planned, agreed and enacted. Due to our excellent preparation we avoided the usual transaction nightmares of late night calls with legal teams, the vendors due diligence team picking up a ‘last minute’ issue and missed deadlines.”

“All parties did well from the sale, which is difficult for this type of sector. The practice continues to grow which is testament to the service offered, and I have been able to pursue my new interests.”

Testimonials:

I have known Kevin for nearly 10 years through the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Chamber of Commerce. Kevin joined the Chamber as a member and later became a Board member, from which Kevin was elected Vice President and President of the Chamber.

One of Kevin’s contributions as Chamber President was his stable and constant leadership during a period of economic recession and austerity. In addition, Kevin built a strong and highly motivated team within the Chamber that attracted new members while retaining existing members.

Kevin is always ready to help and offer advice to business colleagues. His specific area of expertise – finance and tax – is very valuable and much in demand. Kevin represented the Chamber on the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Audit Committee, a role requiring skill, expertise and in-depth knowledge of public service auditing practices. A role which he fulfilled with great care and responsibility. I wish Kevin the very best in his new business venture.

Josephine Browne, B.Sc., B.Comm., M.B.S., B.L., PhD.
President Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Chamber of Commerce (2012-2014) and Head of Faculty of Enterprise and Humanities, IADT Dun Laoghaire

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