The Importance of Good References when Selling a CPA Practice

When it comes time to put your CPA practice up for sale, you need to do all you can to ensure that you receive top dollar for the business you have spent a good part of your life building. One of the best ways to give your practice a higher valuation is with client references.

Client references are the ultimate ‘word of mouth’ when it comes to selling your practice. They can tell the story of your business in a way that you could never do yourself. Positive references will let the prospective buyer know that you have taken care of your clients and that they are loyal to your firm.

Here are some tips to most effectively use your client references to boost the value of your firm:

  1. Post your References on your Website: Your website is a sales tool that works for you 24 hours a day. You can be certain that this is one of the first places a prospective buyer will look when doing their due diligence during the buying process. Not only will they expect a website that professionally projects a positive image; they will also expect to see testimonials about people that have done business with you. This reassures prospective buyers that your clients have strong ties with your firm. In addition, these testimonials are a tool for the buyer to continue using to bring in business when they take over your practice.
  1. Create Case Study Testimonials: One of the most powerful ways to show how your practice was able to help a client is through the effective use of a case study. Ask your best clients to allow you to tell their story about their experience with your practice. It does not have to be a long 20 page document, just a 500-1000 word testimonial will do. Let them write it out in their own words then ask permission to edit the story into a case study for readability. Of course, always make sure to gain your client’s approval before posting.
  1. Post Video Testimonials: Video is one of the best mediums to speak to prospects on an emotional level. If you have any willing clients, ask them to come in (or travel to their location) to do a short video shoot. A 1-2 minute video will be sufficient for this purpose. Once posted, a video testimonial will allow website visitors to see how enthusiastic your clients are about your practice.

As listed above, these steps can help in selling your CPA practice, however, each situation is different. So, before starting the journey of selling your practice, contact a professional business broker who can provide the necessary information so you are comfortable with your decision.

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