Finola McManus urges practitioners to a step back from day-to-day issues and think about their own long-term future with a retirement planning checklist.
Now that summer holidays are upon us and many practitioners are struggling to manage even two weeks away from the office, many may be asking themselves whether they can ever permanently extract themselves form the business.
This article isn’t about the specific logistics of going through a sale here as there is enough written on that subject. Instead, I want to set out a help sheet to ensure practitioners are planning ahead and preparing for succession in general. My experience has shown that the main criticism of any “buyer” is that the outgoing partner had not spent time planning their exit, so the practice is worth less and not so attractive to any buyer. Why sell yourself short when you have spent a lifetime building your firm?
If you were planning to sell your home you would clean it up and do a bit of DIY to show it in its best light. So why not do the same when thinking of disposing of your own business ?
There are two main strategies to consider when planning for retirement or succession;
- An outright sale to a third party or merger with a similar sized or larger firm
- A transfer of equity to an existing partner- whether it be someone who has been trained ‘in house’ or someone you have brought into the business with this purpose in mind.
Whichever is the best strategy for you, the principles below are relevant when planning for that point in time.
My suggestion would be to initially block out three hours a week in the diary, and treat it with the same priority as as a client meeting; don’t take phone calls, ignore the e-mails for a short time and start to work on the ideas discussed in the full article.
Planning for the future is a rewarding exercise in itself and will help you feel more in control and increase the enjoyment you get from your business.
As always, I am happy to answer any specific questions by e-mail at [email protected] and on the Practice-perfect.net website.
Finola McManus is a chartered accountant and former senior partner, who now runs her own consultancy service, Practice Perfect.