Ready yourself to Merge.

by Kev Ryan


With the average age of practitioners in public practice steadily rising, sixty plus year old ‘baby boomers’ are now considering their future options and what the next three to five years leading up to their retirement will look like.

There are a number of issues facing these practitioners and obviously each individual’s personal circumstances are unique. Some matters to consider, whether obvious or not, are common to all however. Quite often practitioners address these issues far too late and often at their peril.

Preparing your practice for merger (or sale) is a significantly different process compared to preparing yourself.

Among the many issues to consider when contemplating a merge, a critical area to address is your personal readiness. After possibly twenty-five to thirty years of self reliance and full control, it can be very daunting to some to face the changes that come with a merge. The requirement to relinquish a number of day-to-day roles and responsibilities can simply be too much. When planning for the merge this significant psychological aspect is one many practitioners don’t place emphasis on or can even overlook. However, this is possibly the number one matter needing consideration.

It is extremely important to determine and address the post-merge ‘who am I?’ question in the ‘am I ready to transition?’ debate. Mentally, it may be a challenging realisation of post-transaction life. You will no longer be that single trusted advisor that so many clients relied upon, respected and looked to for advice. There is an ego hit in this process as you move from a position of status to ‘retiring accountant’ within the client base and often the local community. For some this will be hard to cope with and accept.

The best approach to prepare yourself for merge is to allow plenty of time to implement a planned approach to retirement; say three years at a minimum. Also seek advice and support from family, peers and a transition advisor.

Those that actively undertake a ‘ready for merge & retire’ process will enjoy far better outcomes when they merge, handover and eventually hang up the boots.