The Point: The world of mergers and acquisitions is fantastic, especially once you have an prospective organization under Letter of Intent (LOI). This time period is one where due diligence is conducted to confirm whether the organization is what it says it is. Especially important during this due diligence time period is the analysis conducted by an Accountant. So in this post, we’ll explore business acquisition due diligence from an accounting perspective… Enjoy!
For many accountants, business acquisition is an onerous and time-consuming process. It is not just the cost of purchasing additional capital or paying for legal assistance, that can be a drain on funds. The sheer complexity of mergers and acquisitions often requires a large investment in professional services in addition to time, dedication, and effort. However, many accountants fail to realize that the vast majority of mergers and acquisitions are performed by lawyers and accountants. This post will highlight some of the challenges accountants face in the process of business acquisition due diligence.
Due Diligence – 2 Primary Challenges
There are two primary reasons why accountants are the primary force behind acquisition activities. First, they have access to the appropriate legal information and personnel to make a knowledgeable purchase of a business. Second, they are well-versed in the financial statements and the business plans of both companies. In short, they understand the products and services that each company offers and the expectations from the purchase. Although these key assets are important, it is sometimes unrealistic to put such great faith in them when it comes to the complex negotiations that must precede a transaction. For this reason, it is vital that accountants remain neutral in their recommendations to the management regarding the proposed merger or acquisition.
In reality, most business transactions occur at a slow pace, with little or no external input. Therefore, accountants become involved only after significant due diligence has been conducted. The process may begin with a simple review of financial statements and company records to determine if the prospective acquirer is making a sound purchase or is entering into a deal with unrealistic expectations. This preliminary examination of the business’s records should not take more than a few hours, and is time consuming, but it is time well spent.
Accountants and Lenders in Due Diligence
When a company is in the process of obtaining financing, there may also be instances where the lender requires diligence in connection with the loan. Lenders are becoming increasingly educated about the benefits associated with acquiring an existing business rather than an entirely new one. As a result, the process may include requesting business information from accountants as a part of the due diligence process. Accountants may provide information concerning the companies’ credit ratings, operational revenue, and cash flow, as well as any positive or negative indicators that reflect on the business’s financial health.
Accuracy Counts in Due Diligence
For the individual who has entered into a business acquisition transaction, it is imperative to maintain accurate accounts in order to ensure that the transaction goes as smoothly as possible. Good accountants will have access to information that is rarely shared within a business acquisition firm. This type of specialized information allows individuals to make intelligent decisions regarding the purchase of a business. It will provide the acquirer with accurate information that can be used to determine the amount of funds needed for the acquisition and to determine if the business has the potential to increase profit and revenue. In fact, business acquisition due diligence is so important that businesses have their own internal accountants as well as outside accountants who are responsible for performing these tasks.
Most business acquisition firms prefer to hire accountants who have previous experience in acquisitions as they know how to manage the due diligence process. Additionally, a business acquisition consultant should focus on developing relationships with other business acquirers to ensure that the due diligence process goes as smoothly as possible. Most consultants will perform all of these tasks on behalf of the acquirer. In fact, most will dedicate several of their business acquisition specialists to working exclusively with the acquirer.