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Accountancy Practice Market Imbalance Drive Charging Change


Maximiti, leading UK accountancy practice brokers has shifted its policy on charging to reflect market conditions.

MANCHESTER, LANCASHIRE, UK, November 12, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The market for accountancy practices has been imbalanced for many years and shows no sign of letting up any time soon, as professional investors and private equity chases alternative and stable returns to the traditional routes they have chosen.

Demand outstrips supply in most of the country and in London some practices coming on the market face requests for meetings from 20 or more parties within days of coming to market.

Maximiti has long split the fee between buyers and sellers but recently introduced charging the buyer only as a default policy, to reflect the imbalance between supply and demand.

"This will not affect the professional approach we take to make the deal work for both parties but we feel that where appropriate our remuneration should reflect supply and demand but it is not cast in stone - we remain flexible" says Norman Younger founder and director of Maximiti.

Younger points out that in this marketplace the imbalance has not sent prices skyrocketing in the manner of a traditional supply and demand curve, with the main advantage to a seller being the larger pool of buyers to pick from.

Norman Younger
Maximiti Ltd
+44 161 798 2121
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Accountants in a quandry over MTD


Many sole practitioners in their 50s are unsure whether adapt to MTD or throw in the towel in the face of yet another bureaucratic process foisted upon them.

Maximiti is at the forefront of accountancy practice sales and we get to talk to and meet a lot of smaller practice owners. This year at Accountex we met around 150 and a common thread was emerging among many in their 50s.

Adapt or die is nothing new but when it becomes a reality for somebody it takes on a whole new meaning. Firms have seen tightening KYC rules , Auto Enrolment and now they face MTD. 

"Many are not afraid of technology", says Norman Younger, director of Maximiti, but it's a case of whether they can be bothered re-educating their clients and making fundamental changes in their modus operandi but still facing uncertainty on the next major change that may rear its head.

"It's a real conundrum" , continues Younger , adding "If this is all you've done for 30 plus years and you've had enough and just not got the energy for upheaval, what do you do?" .The choice they see in front of them is to sell up if they can afford to (many cannot) or plod on in the hope that it all works out, which Younger notes is a dangerous course in a fast moving and evolving sector.

He states that there is no need to despair as there are all sorts of exit and succession solutions out there but the problem lies in actually grasping the nettle because either way change of some sort is going to happen so a positive approach is definitely the best angle to come at the problem.

Younger finishes with the opinion that Brexit is not helping as it has fostered a general mood of uncertainty and paralysis throughout the economy, reinforced by talking to clients no doubt enduring similar anxiety.


Accountancy Practice Survey Winter 2019

This is the time of year - post January tax return madness - that many accountants give long and hard thought as to whether they really want to face the same stresses next January.”

— Norman Younger BA(Hons) FCCA MCIArb

"Benchmarking is becoming ever more relevant and it really gets one thinking" says Norman Younger , founder and director of Maximiti.

He notes that this is the time of year - post January tax return madness - that many accountants give long and hard thought as to whether they really want to face the same stresses next January.

The mix of unrelated question has, as usual, thrown up some interesting results, but what do they mean for YOU and for the profession?

When asked whether they felt that their clients saw them more as business advisers over the past 3 years, 66% of accountants replied affirmatively. Now that so many tasks have become commoditised by technology this is hardly a surprise and by 2020 I would expect to see this figure nearer 90% , if not higher. Does this mean that the training for accountants needs to be even more business orientated?

We asked respondents whether 2018 had gone to plan from a professional aspect. Disappointingly only 58% replied positively but a surprising 28% replied that they had made no plans for the year. This begs the question that if accountants are not planning for their own business how can they advise other businesses? 
Sounds like a case of the cobbler’s children going barefoot! At least only 14% told us that it had not gone to plan, a small crumb of comfort that of those who did plan, most of the plans worked out.

Turning to experience of independent practice the results were:
<1 year 21%
1 -3 years 22%
4 – 7 years 18%
7 – 15 years 17%
>15 years 22%
Looks like independent practice remains a popular route in spite of ever tightening rules and regulations, together with continued pricing pressures felt by many firms.
The last figure chimes with our experience that more practitioners are retiring earlier as the structural changes taking place are a catalyst for traditional compliance-led practice owners choosing to close their ledgers rather than embrace fundamental change.

Last but not least is the question on partner earnings, always a favourite for benchmarking:

<£50k 32%
£50k- £75k 21%
£75k - £100k 8%
£100k - £150k 18%
£150k - £250k 8%
>£250k 13%

It looks like there is still good money to be made for almost 50% of those at partner level but interestingly almost 1/3 are not making £50,000 per annum. Presumably they are at the start of their independence and hoping to make it to the privileged 13%



Maximiti Introduces Mediation to SMEs and their Accountants

Posted 29th November 2018


Mediation is gaining popularity as an alternative dispute resolution method for SMEs and their business advisers.

It's is almost as if it is one of the best kept secrets of business”
— Rafael Katz

MANCHESTER, LANCASHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM, November 29, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Disputes are an irritating fact of business but all too often the parties cannot be bothered with tackling the dispute and it is kicked into the long grass usually for fear of a costly legal case that will drag on interminably so the "game is not worth the candle" .
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution option that is fast, cost effective and enjoys a high success rate. It is gaining in popularity and with the correct support from their accountants, SMEs could use mediation to their advantage, freeing up lost money and repairing damaged business relationships to the benefit of both the aggrieved parties.
"Currently mediation is not seen as a "go-to" option for small business and we're trying to remedy this" says Norman Younger of Maximiti, himself a trained mediator. 
"It's is almost as if it is one of the best kept secrets of business" , says his colleague and head of mediation at Maximiti, Rafael Katz , "so we've created a series of short videos to bring it right to the boardroom of small business".

MANCHESTER, UK, August 1, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Maximiti is now offering negotiation as one of its niche services to SMEs, primarily through their accountants. The firm has been working for many years in the accountancy sector and is acutely aware that many accountancy firms are needing to reposition themselves as trusted business advisers to their clients in order to keep the edge in a rapidly changing professional landscape.

As well accountants offering their own skills to help their SME clients prosper, many are choosing to work collaboratively with other professions. Now, through Maximiti, their clients can draw upon the skills of trained and experienced negotiators in a wide range of business scenarios.

"The beauty of our offering for the accountant is that he or she can introduce us and work with us to help their clients achieve better outcomes in business negotiations either when pitched against bigger firms or those of a similar size" , says Norman Younger , director and lead negotiator at Maximiti.

He explains that the cost of a professional negotiator will pay itself back quickly many times over and allows the accountant to play an active role throughout the process while gaining the all important kudos for having brought the client and negotiator together.


Accountancy firms falls short on raising staff standards

Posted 30th April 2018

A survey of the accountancy profession by Maximiti, a leading firm of accountancy practice brokers, has revealed that almost half of smaller firms do not have a system of staff appraisal.

Norman Younger FCCA , director at Maximiti was surprised to find out that only 53% of these firms have a system of staff appraisal. "It is likely that there is an informal way of doing these things, probably when somebody asks for a rise" , he suggests. 

He believes that small businesses like "high street" acountants can't be bothered with an extra layer of formality especially in a setting with only 2 or 3 staff members and where the boss is alwyas looking out one corner of their eye to see if the clerks have their heads down.

"This is incredibly short sighted" says Younger ruefully , and says "  there is so much more more that can be achieved with a transparent system that lets staff work towards personal and company goals that leaves everybody better off" .

Younger observes that these accountants are probably advising their clients to make sure they look after their human capital properly in order to prosper. A case of the "cobbler's children going barefoot" , so often found in the profession.

"As the market continues to consolidate in the face of ever more regulation and the faster pace of tehnological change I reckon we will see more firms at the "smaller" end becoming more professional in their approach to internal matters" ends off Younger with a smile of anticipation.



Maximiti acquires Henley Business Group

Posted 22nd February 2018


The purchase of Henley Business Group for an undisclosed sum has been completed following 6 months of negotiations.

Henley specialises in brokering the sales of quality B2B industrial and manufacturing firms turning over between £1m and £10m , and enjoys a strong presence and enviable reputation in this niche marketplace.

Henley Business Group will continue to trade independently and build further on its established strengths whilst coming under the Maximiti brand and relocating to Manchester.

Norman Younger , director of Maximiti says "we are delighted to have concluded the purchase of a business which espouses the same values as those upon which we built our own business . We look forward to working with Bill Leech , Henley's founder, and taking Henley Business Group to the next level."


Maximiti launches online mediation invitation tool

Posted 12th February 2018

Maximiti, a firm of commercial mediators has launched a free online service allowing one of the parties in a dispute to initiate the mediation process

Commercial mediation is growing in popularity due to its speed and cost savings over the traditional legal route. "Most business owners want to run their business not let disputes run." says Rafael Katz, senior mediator at Maximiti.

According to Katz "Often all it takes to bring your counterparty to the table is a simple and honest approach but for some reason people find it incredibly hard to do, so our new invitation tool is designed to make it really easy with a few clicks of a mouse, but remaining businesslike and unemotive."

Norman Younger, director of Maximiti notes that "Mediators need to remain impartial so the more that is done between the parties directly at the early stages, the better the chance the counterparty will turn up to talk."

Most of Maximiti's workload is where shareholders and/or directors in SMEs are not getting on very well and usually they cannot simply walk away from the situation without facing financial ruin so the online mediation invitation has been designed with such scenarios in mind.

Norman Younger was founder of FD Group and spent over 20 years advising on common SME shareholding and director disputes.


Accountants want to turn the clock back

Posted: 5 December 2017

A survey by Maximiti, a leading firm of accountancy practice brokers, has found that 23% of accountants preferred restrictions on professional advertising.

It seems that for a lot of accountants the "good old days" really were something to remember with nostalgia. Given that it is nearly three decades time since the professions were deregulated and allowed to advertise the result came of something as a surprise to Norman Younger, Maximiti's director who came up with the question.

He wonders whether the 23% represents "old timers" who never really understood that they were in business and couldn't bring themselves to learn the finer nuances of marketing or whether these are younger accountants who never experienced regulation but find the seemingly constant attention required to be heard on social media simply too much.Then again,Younger reckons, perhaps it is a cross section of the profession who believe that restriction means higher fees.

Whatever it points to it is probably something that should be of interest to the professional accountancy bodies because one would have expected a figure way below 23% . Is there enough professional training for facing the marketplace or is the profession simply facing the same market onslaught that retailers do with online behemoths ?

"Perhaps I need to rerun this survey in another 20 years when nobody will be left in practice from the 1980's - myself included !" quips Younger who commenced training in 1989.


Does the accountancy profession have an identity crisis ?

Posted: 9 October 2017


Accountancy, for many years a mainstay of the "professions", has seen itself under continued attack from both regulation and commoditisation of many of its services

Naturally this has lead to soul searching in the industry and there seems to a widening schism between those practitioners embracing change and those continuing as they were on regardless, often derided as an ostrich mentality.


Maximiti, a boutique business brokerage specialising in accountancy practice sales, surveyed over 100 accountants asking them whether they offer consultancy services. This "value added" aspect of the accountant's role is something that all the pundits are writing about in the professional media. Even Maximiti is not averse to the odd article pitching-in with advice!


The results of the survey showed that 65% were offering consultancy and 35% were not. Norman Younger, director of Maximiti is sure that the 35% will shrink steadily but noted that it demonstrated how the profession was still split between the "old-timers" and those in the vanguard of change.


"It's a question of how long the traditional practice model, based around annual accounts, compliance and a friendly cup of tea once a year can survive" says Younger, who adds that for many firms still operating this way there could be a precipitous drop in income just around the corner and by then it will be too late to salvage the true value built up over years.


Younger ends of wryly noting that "the joke is that so many SMEs need consultancy but don't realise it, and so many accountants need to dispense consultancy but don't think about it."

Snapshot accountancy survey 2017

Posted: 25 July 2017

Maximiti, a leading firm of accountancy practice brokers and consultants asked over 100 accountancy firms some questions to see what insights could be gained about the profession and their SME clients.

Norman Younger FCCA, director of Maximiti says that the questions were short and simple but just enough to gain some valuable insights into the profession.

First and foremost, we asked the “B” question:

Has Brexit affected your clients? 92% said it had not and only 8% replied that it had.

I suspect that by this time in 2019 these figures could be inverted but not necessarily for the worst. The question is whether the beancounters can help clients seize new opportunities.

Given the uncertainty over Brexit we thought the next question was a good follow up:

From a professional aspect is 2017 going to plan? 53% said it was, 14% said it had not but 33.3% said they had no plan.

It looks as if only half the profession sees the year going to plan but a third having no plan should make you sit up and ask why the cobbler’s children are going barefoot?

Accountants have their own version of Brexit when it comes to unknown start dates and formats:

Does Making Tax Digital worry you? 73% said it did not but 27% said that it did.

Complacent or confident? You decide but I reckon from a professional aspect this is encouraging.

Given the headwinds how confident are accountants about themselves in asking for referrals?

Do you ask clients to recommend you? 84% said they did and 16% said they did not. Clearly the profession is at ease with one of the oldest forms of selling.

We suspect that clients are at ease with this request and as accountants are their trusted business advisers, they are no doubt happy to acquiesce.

"Whether you are an accountant or a client these 4 questions should give you some food for thought, just make sure you don't get indigestion" quips Younger.

SME business advice to include mediation

Posted: 9 June 2017

Maximiti , whose services include business mediation for SMEs has recently introduced the concept to the UK's small and medium sized accountancy practices

Highlights from Maximiti's survey showed :

  • Over 60% of accountancy firms did not realise how cost effective mediation can be compared with litigation.

  • Only 58% thought that mediation would achieve a better result than litigation.

  • Over 70% of accountants were aware of clients being involved in disputes in the past 3 years.

  • Approximately 62% of accountants were unaware of how swiftly mediation can bring about a resolution.

With a success rate over 80% and a mediation meeting typically lasting a day or less at a fraction of the cost of litigation, Katz reckons that accountants are missing a trick in their never ending quest for more arrows in their value-added quiver.

Whilst the survey did show that around 60% of accountants had been involved on some format in trying to sort client disputes, all too often it is in a passive role once the legal fees had reached "silly sums" in proportion to the matter under dispute.

Katz end off by pointing out that in business disputes it is almost certainly "only about money" , making it ripe for a swiftly mediated conclusion by a professional mediator , whilst allowing a role for the accountant that can earn them fees that are easily justifiable.

Are accountants finally closing the expectations gap ?

Posted: 20 April 2017

Maximiti, accountancy practice brokers and consultants has long pointed out the gap between what clients want and what they get.

Accountants traditionally saw themselves as compliance clerks whose year end meeting was endured by clients, rather than looked forward to. Clients have complained for years that their accountants weren't giving them business advice.

The result, according to Norman Younger FCCA, director at Maximiti, was a Mexican stand-off that was in nobody's interests. Clients simmered quietly and accountants wondered why fee and client growth was stagnating.

Maximiti's recent survey found that 66% of accountants described themselves as trusted business advisers, 22% saw themselves as providing traditional services and a surprising 12% had never given the matter any thought !

Younger ponders as to whether this change in self-perception actually translates into hard, useful advice that clients truly value and are willing to pay for. "It's a leap of faith for clients to pay extra for advice they always felt entitled to but never received" , says Younger and he continues by pointing out that many firms face the uphill struggle of justifying their new found "value added" as it can take time for the results of advice to manifest themselves and even then it's only if the client actually follows it through in a timely manner.

Younger believes that the commoditisation of basic accounting services is forcing firms to re-think what they stand for and he expects that 66% to climb steadily in the coming years, eventually reaching 100%, although admittedly it could well be a generational phenomenon and may not reach saturation until the last of the old school finally closes their ledgers.



Are accountants underappreciated by clients ?

Posted: 23 February 2017

A recent survey of the accountancy profession by Maximiti, practice brokers and consultants, reveals that 72% of practitioners believe they are inadequately remunerated.

The profession has long faced fee pressures of the sort not seen by other disciplines. All too often the annual meeting with clients becomes a game of poker over the fee.

According to Norman Younger FCCA, founder and director of Maximiti, this points to clients failing to make proper use of their accountant for business advice and unfairly relegating them to the role of compliance clerks.

So where does the fault lie? Given that Maximiti also found that 68% of firms claimed that they saw themselves as "trusted business advisers" it would appear that this message is not being articulated adequately to clients or that clients simply do not believe that accountants have the commercial nous needed for the front line of business.

"I think many small firm owners would be surprised about (a) how much practical experience many accountants actually have - after all a practice is also a business, complemented by the fact many partners have external business interests , and (b) how their experiences in advising a wide range of businesses can be easily applied across all sectors" adds Younger.

Clearly there is an expectations gap but the question is whether enough firms are grasping the nettle to push themselves forward as people who can truly add value to their clients' businesses.

Younger ends off by predicting that as change sweeps the profession many will have no choice but to do so in order to keep the lights on.



Maximiti launches accountancy mediation service

Posted: 13 February 2017

Maximiti , leading UK accountancy practice brokers and consultants has opened a mediation service for its clients

This new department is run by Rafael Katz MCIArb, who has a wide and varied experience with mediating disputes at both the professional and general business level.

Norman Younger, founder and director of Maximiti, believes that mediation is something that many accountants could benefit from as the profession goes through unprecedented change that will have a direct effect on client expectations.

"The beauty of mediation is that clients can be retained and in the worst case scenario the need to go to law is obviated. When solicitors get involved there is only one winner - the law firm", says Younger wryly.

"Clients don't seek to leave their accountant when there is a disagreement, nor does the accountant seek the negative publicity that disgruntled ex-clients can foster but clients typically feel they have little alternative. We want to change how misunderstandings between accountants and their clients are handled" Younger concludes.

The appointment of a professional mediator will also assist the development of the specialist business brokerage cum corporate finance function that was launched last month by Maximiti.

Maximiti extends accountancy support  

Posted: 18 January 2017


Maximiti , leading UK accountancy practice brokers and consultants has added on a new portfolio of support services to the accountancy sector

  • Mentoring

  • Financing

  • Sale of client businesses

Norman Younger FCCA, director and founder says this move is a mixture of response to requests from clients and that the business sales and mentoring is the resurrection of a service that was previously offered in a limited way.

We have extensive experience of advising small accountancy firms and of general business transfer for specialised assignments in what may be described as "boutique". Having changed some of the dynamics of accountancy practice brokerage since 2007 Younger feels the time is ripe to take a different approach to general business sales.

"We have spent time and money on this project working with professional partners who see massive potential for all parties" , says Younger, who is also marketing the businesses for sale listings to accountancy firms as another avenue of "value added" for their clients.


Accountancy firms ill-prepared for winds of change   Posted: 21 December 2016

A survey by Maximiti Ltd, leading UK accountancy practice brokers and consultants reveals a worrying statistic that could bode ill for many small practices in 2017, given the pace of change facing the accountancy profession

Norman Younger BA (Hons) FCCA , founder and director of the firm reveals that 80% of firms recently surveyed by his firm have no strategy for change in place for 2017.

"Given the massive changes facing SMEs and micro-entities, ranging from RTI to MTD it is time for every single firm to know how they will cope with client demands and government IT gremlins" says Younger.

Maximiti believes a major concern is whether firms feel able to recover the extra costs involved. But more worrying explains Younger is that "challenge also presents opportunity and that many firms are failing to see the massive potential for growth on the back of these changes coupled with others such as commoditisation of the core offering that is the bread and butter of so many high street practices".

"It's small wonder that our survey also found that only 50% of practices were optimistic for their fortunes in 2017" he says ruefully.

"If firms cannot look after themselves adequately and are somewhat downbeat" wonders Younger, "what does that say for the level of business support and planning that they are offering their clients?"

Younger ended off by returning to a recurring theme he hears from SME owners on a depressingly regular basis - why their accountants are not proactive with business and investment advice. He wonders whether the profession will ever close that expectations gap, but is certain it won't be in 2017.



Lifeline for clients of jailed accountant in last minute deal  Posted: 6 May 2016

The conviction of jailed accountant Christopher Lunn earlier this year had left thousands of clients, including household showbiz names, with a worrying wait for a resolution of their affairs following his sentencing

Norman Younger of practice brokers Maximiti, who negotiated the sale with the administrators Frost Group, observed that “this was a highly unusual and complex deal whose circumstances adversely impacted its marketability, and we had to bear in mind that with the passage of time the risk of clients finding a new adviser increased, thereby wiping out value for creditors. One would also hope that a better outcome for many clients will be achieved with a single firm liaising on behalf of the group with HMRC".

He added that the cause celebre surrounding the case demonstrated how rare such events are and remained confident that the reputation of the accountancy profession would not be undermined.

“The forthcoming Accountex exhibition shows just how energised and buoyant the sector is. This country boasts a robust and well regulated profession that can be relied upon to assist clients with compliance and fulfilling the role as trusted business adviser ” said Younger, who says that demand for the purchase of fee blocks or entire practices remains buoyant in spite the sluggish economy.




Only 16% of accountants have had Brexit conversation with clients   Posted: 26 May 2016

Maximiti, leading accountancy practice broker and consultant, has revealed that "the elephant in the room" is not on the radar of small accountancy firms

"For a profession renowned for caution and worry about possible adverse outcomes this was indeed a surprise," he says, but continues to ponder why this is and what it says about the profession.

"Most respondents simply said their clients were too small and a Brexit outcome would not affect them, but I think they are failing to think things through properly by not considering the trickle down effect, or perhaps they steer clear of politics for fear of upsetting the client" says Younger.

He goes on to point out that there are many subcontractors or suppliers to larger entities that will undoubtedly be affected, and states that the odds are on some sort of short term shock. "You only have to look at what the uncertainty is doing out there for many firms and that's before we've left - imagine the uncertainty the morning after" Younger is quick to state.

But for him, the headline statistic is not so much about Brexit but it is a worrying sign that smaller firms are simply not "getting it" that their role to clients is as a trusted business adviser and that their job is to create the environment for questioning both strategy and tactics on a regular basis.
"Nobody sees beyond a business like an outsider - they simply do not wear the blinkers that the owners do, however talented they may be," says Younger.

As a parting comment he declares his Brexit position in the interests of openness - the sooner we're out , the better!


The accountant's lot is a happy one   Posted: 14 April 2016

A recent survey of accountants in practice by Maximiti has found that over 80% of respondents who are thinking of selling up are not doing so because they are fed up of the profession

The survey results along with anecdotal evidence points to a profession who practitioners enjoy what they do and tend to sell up because of retirement as opposed to burn out.

Although generally a happy lot, the decision to retire is often precipitated by impending changes in the profession, either as a result of the march of technology that commoditises "bread and butter" fee processes or creeping regulation such as Auto Enrolment and quarterly reporting by HMRC.

"For somebody in their late fiftes who has been slogging away in the profession for over 30 years, one change too much is often the straw that breaks the camel's back , especially if they can get their hands on their pension already" , says Norman Younger , Director at Maximiti.

"I don't know how it compares to other professions" notes Younger, "but it seems that if you have a head for figures , it doesn't matter what the headwinds are - you'll be happy crunching numbers come what may until retirement appears on the horizon"

Younger points out that such high satisfaction rates only exacerbates the shortage of practices available on the market for young aspiring accountants eager to buy into a good quality established firm and hit the ground running instead of building up from scratch over a number of years.


Are accountants failing to heed their own advice? Posted: 23 March 2016

Accountants, long established as trusted to look after the business affairs of others, may benefit from a look in the mirror

Maximiti, a leading firm of accountancy practice brokers, conducted a survey of firms whose owners were considering selling, and asked whether they thought that their practice was ready for sale.

Only 17 per cent of respondents thought that their business was ready for sale. This suggests that when it comes to looking after other people's businesses they are performing much better than looking after their own affairs.

Norman Younger, director of Maximiti, says that it doesn't necessarily mean that the profession is in a poor state at the High Street level, but that it probably indicates the lack of time and "headspace" practitioners face due to the constant pressure from clients and creeping regulatory pressure, from money laundering rules to auto-enrolment.

He adds that it doesn't help that many small firms fail to fully grasp that they are not simply professionals, they are also in business for themselves and the same rules that apply to clients apply to their own business.

He points out that there is no suggestion that the advice given to SMEs is lacking but in fact there is a growing awareness of their role as trusted business advisers.

Younger ends off by noting that "the cobbler's children have long been going barefoot - plus can change".


Accountancy practice valuations in 2016 – will they finally diverge?  Posted: 30 December 2015

For many years the valuations of accountancy practices have defied the basic law of supply and demand and they have been trapped in a narrow range in spite of the ongoing shortage of “good” practices available.

Norman Younger FCCA , director of Maximiti , a leading firm of accountancy practice sales brokers , thinks that buyers may be tempted to outbid each other in 2016 , driving prices higher. “A lot depends on the attitudes of sellers. After all, if they don’t have the time or energy to meet several prospects there is less competition to drive up the multiple” says Younger .

So why might 2016 be different to past years ? The answer he says could lie with the agents, who are after all in the best position to determine how likely it is that buyers will break rank and compete against one another to land a plum practice. “Such opportunities are rare and it doesn’t make sense that prices are not rising when they do come up , especially if you factor in potential savings . Everybody has a point after which they will move beyond their comfort zone - it's time for agents to nudge practice sellers to meet multiple buyers ” says Younger .

With interest rates set to remain low for some years to come , following clarity on the matter from central bankers in recent weeks, buyers , especially those with investors behind them could react by paying more for a quality investment that is at the lower end of the risk spectrum. “Professional investors are getting restless in the quest for returns from passive investments with a low risk and the accountancy remains an obvious target especially as they realise that the alternatives are simply too risky in the current economic climate” says Younger , who looks forward to 2016 as a year where a lot more practices will change hands than in 2015.

“In many other asset classes prices growth potential is also factored into the valuation - perhaps it’s time for the accountancy profession to do the same. Trouble is accountants are a cautious bunch used to preparing historic accounts and the future is something not on their radar”.

So no bull markets then but a 5 -  10% rise , perhaps ? 


Accountants fail to grasp the hidden value in their practice   Posted: 15 July 2015

With interest rates at record lows and volatile markets, accountancy practices remain popular investments for existing practitioners. Buyers outnumber sellers massively but too many small firms underestimate their worth