Most business owners have a “trusted” advisor. This could be an accountant, banker, lawyer, financial advisor or anyone that, over the years, the owner has felt comfortable calling for advice which he or she has generally followed. For certain major events, like selling a business, the skills of the trusted advisor should be complemented with other specialists. Let’s look at the “starting five” for a good team.
A financial advisor can answer the question of how much is enough money for the owner to live the lifestyle he or she desires and/or meet his or her gifting goals. With a financial plan in place, the mergers & acquisitions advisor, the financial advisor and your accountant can determine which is the best type of sale (asset or stock or ESOP), and what payment and deal terms are most advantageous.
An accountant knows the business and personal wealth of the client and the tax impact of the decisions he or she is contemplating.
A transaction attorney has specific expertise in drafting documents and explaining in understandable words to the client what the legal documents say and mean with regard to a purchase or sale.
An estate attorney can identify the best planning option based on legacy goals and the financial plan.
The M&A advisor typically drives the transaction. He or she handles the entire process from beginning to end—confidentially finding the right buyer or seller and working with all the other advisors as a team to create the best outcome. This person does not provide investment advice, legal counsel or financial planning, and that is why the team of advisors is so important.
A good team of advisors can speak efficiently and effectively to each other and all will have the same goal: to do their best to meet the client’s needs.
-LeAnne Foster is a consultant for Water Street Advisors LLC in Milwaukee.