S3E16. Buying and Selling CPA Firms with Brannon Poe

Brannon Poe, the founder of Poe Group Advisors, has been facilitating advisors’ successful accounting practice transitions throughout the US and Canada since 2003. He’s also the creator of Accounting Practice Academy, an eight-week virtual workshop for accounting practice owners. He’s the author of the Account Practice Insights blog and hosts the Accounting Flight Plan podcast with other top thought leaders in the profession. He is also the author of several books, including “Accountant’s Flight Plan” and “On Your Own.” 

But the main reason I invited him onto the show is that Poe’s company buys and sells CPA firms, which he’s been doing for 17 years now.

Why would partners want to sell their CPA firm?

Often, when there’s nobody in a smaller firm that is capable of taking over—or nobody wants to take over—and the CEO is ready to retire, they contact a brokerage company to help them sell. They typically begin this process a few years out so that they can transition their client base into the new firm and help get them in market-ready shape. Market-ready shape means having a firm that will have a high demand for the sale.

Why is there so much demand for firms today?

There are a lot of younger people ready to break out on their own, but there are also a lot of older people that are just realizing they’re ready to get out, so the market for buying and selling CPA firms is very strong right now. We’re seeing a lot of change in our economy and society right now, and it’s causing people to rethink their priorities.

The Accounting Practice Academy

When you look at your business, you will see a pattern: 20% of your clients will typically get you 80% of your revenue. If you look at your sales team, you’ll probably have 20% of your high performers who produce 80% of your results. By identifying these patterns and maximizing for the 20% that gives you 80% of your results, you can work less and gain much, much more.

Create the structure and the boundaries you need to create the type of business you want to have and follow it. You will take up as much time as you give yourself to do the work.

Accounting is such a great foundational education. You can start as an auditor or tax professional, but with everything you learn, there are so many different directions you can take. And there have been many successful entrepreneurs that have come out of the industry. CPAs have the ability to make business owners more professional managers of their business. And the most successful partners in firms get satisfaction from truly helping their clients.

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