Business Valuation is always a hot topic of conversation at accounting events, particularly business advisory conferences. However, moving away from the reactive side of valuations (business restructuring, tax reasons, court cases, merges and acquisitions) is critical to developing a powerful advisory service. The value understanding that is what drives the value of the business is of key importance to SME clients going forward.

Business Valuations and Indications - A Unique Advisory Opportunity

How often is there an expectation from your clients that the sale of their business will be able to provide sufficient funds to allow them to live their desired retirement plan? The stunned silence that inevitably follows when a client realises that their business they have invested so much time and money into is actually worth less than they think. Even worse the fact that business is worth nothing is a huge shock to many clients looking to exit from their business. How many times has this happened to you as their trusted advisor?? How do you go about preventing this happening in the first place?

Research studies have shown that the increased representation of small to medium businesses onto the open market will equate to an even tougher business environment in which to sell as the potential buyer pool is smaller than the amount of businesses coming into the market. Smart business owners can't afford to take the "wait and see" approach to exiting their business and accountants should encourage their clients to take action now to increase the likelihood of the desired outcome. 

If you aren't encouraging your clients to take action now either someone else will or even worse your clients will not meet their retirement expectation. Either way you could ultimately lose them as clients.

So where do you start? Firstly analyse the business while incorporating the client's retirement expectation. In this process you need to able to identify:

  • What they need to fund their retirement
  • What their estimated business value is now, and
  • What their business value needs to be at time of sale and how many years until they can afford to sell.

(This creates the all-important "disturb"!!)

From here you can then engage in "Value Building" engagements such as Business Value Indications to drive the value of the business This in turn will compliment your business advisory, succession planning, estate planning, financial planning services.

If you don't have the resources and skills to offer these services consider a strategic partnership with someone that does. By doing this you remain the clients trusted advisor, reduce the risk of an outside adviser influencing your client to move services away from you and if you partner with the right people they can teach you to deliver the services yourself. The primary reason is to help our clients achieve their goals - to retire comfortably after a lifetime of working.

One of the best practitioners I have seen in this space is Samantha Dean of 3am Business Solutions. As a Chartered Accountant she fully understands the SME market and what drives their value. Samantha also understands the accounting industry and the importance of growing this type of specialised service offering within it. If you need assistance completing valuations and business value indications consider contacting Samantha at [email protected].

So look to enhance your business advisory services by offering business valuations and business value indications and offer clients the type of services they really want.

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Mark Holton Smithink