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ABOUT US

25 YEARS EXPERIENCE

Over 25 years experience working alongside qualified Accountancy Practices and their Clients

Providing the services and support programmes required for you to make better business decisions in the increasingly complex, competitive accountancy sector. For over 25 years, the Goldsmiths Group have developed a proud history of being accessible, connected and responsive to the needs of the sole practitioners and multi-partner firms we serve.

Through our wide range of programmes for each of your needs, we help you facilitate your practice goals, combining our local business insight with our sector-based analysis – providing a complete and integrated range of market leading support services created specifically to enhance your plans for both you personally, and for those of your practice.

Whether your focus is practice growth, acquisition, disposal or your retirement plans and exit strategy, Goldsmith’s expertise with practice development, strategic planning and positioning, we help practices of all shapes and sizes make better decisions with confidence and discretion.

It’s a very personal business and we at Goldsmiths are always pleased to meet with you individually and in strict confidence to discuss your requirements.

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EXPERTISE

MANAGING CHANGE

The current issue relates to the high proportion of baby boomers endemic throughout the profession. Back in the 1980’s the Goldsmiths Group were providing funding for the current owners of practices to either buy an entire firm or become a partner. Over 30 years on, we are now looking at retirement issues.

The whole focus of Goldsmiths is now centered around this whole issue. For example there are something in excess of 17,000 qualified sole practitioner practices in England and Wales. The vast majority are now looking forward (or not as the case may be) to retirement.

Multi partner firms have the same issues, but instead of having just one person to make decisions there are a number.

Managing change is one of the most difficult areas to be undertaken by a practice, whether you are a sole practitioner or a partner in a multi partner firm. There is the fear factor to be considered. There are financial issues, and in respect of multi partner firms the needs and requirements of your co–partners.

The Goldsmiths Group have considerable expertise in managing this change and discussing with you how best to achieve a positive result and outcome given the circumstances. In particular we are of course looking at the merger and acquisition of practices. For a sole practitioner this is fairly straight forward, you either can or cant go and all decisions are in your hands. We have a number of ways of helping a sole practitioner to either sell and go, buy another block of fees, an entire practice or indeed stay in practice but without the same responsibility and have a guaranteed exit route. All this developed by Goldsmiths.

For the multi partner firms we offer our consultancy service. Not only have we spent nearly 30 years meeting practices, we have chartered accountants within the group who are highly qualified in helping manage change having either been through it themselves, or been working on the project for many years. We understand and help you with the issues involved.

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SERVICES

MANAGING
CHANGE

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The fact that you’re on our “Frequently Asked Questions” page at all means we have been as intuitive as we had hoped and will do our best to answer any further questions you might have.

The current going rate for sole practitioner and small practices is between 1 and 1.25 times the annual recurring fees. If however you are a larger firm then it is largely based on profitability as opposed to a multiple of fees. This is a specialist area and we need to discuss with you individually a valuation for your practice.

This is in the interests of both the buyer and seller, and will need to be taken into account when negotiating a sale. The length of time required to stay on in a practice once it has been sold can vary considerably. We have seen a successful handover completed in 2-3 months. It is however advisable to keep the name of the original owner of the fees on letterheads for as long as is possible, and suitable for the particular purchase/sale as this gives comfort to clients. The process has often be likened to a relay race. Both sides need to hold the baton for sufficiently long enough so that when one lets go, it doesn’t land on the floor!

To say how long is a piece of string is unhelpful. It is however fairly normal to find a prospective buyer within 3-6 months with a practice that will fit the bill. Completion may be an extended matter simply and purely because of external factors such as leases on premises, tax years etc.

December and January are generally a no no. There are normally firms continuously on the look out for acquisitions, so apart from very definitely avoiding the January Tax Return season, it is wise to put the practice on the market as soon as is appropriate.

Clawback often depends on the size of the practice, and is usually between a period of 18 months and 3 years subsequent to the actual sale of the practice. Should any clients not transfer you will generally speaking not receive payment for those that have left. In some circumstances we have arranged for the buyers and sellers to have an arrangement in place whereby the retiring practitioner can replace lost clients with new ones. There has occasionally been limits placed on the amount of turnover lost before clawback operates, this is between 5% and 10%. It is however absolutely vital that you find a buyer that has a similar ethos of working in order to ensure your clients comfortably hand over at the time of completion and you stay around long enough to ensure the clients have settled.

Work in progress is a more complicated issue. The most usual practice for work in progress is for a note to be put on a file as to how much has been done on the day of sale, or even a bill issued but only placed on the file for work done to date. Once the buyer has completed the work and it has been paid for, an evaluation should then be made of the proportion of the bill to be paid back to the vendor of the practice for work carried out prior to completion. It is not been unknown for a buyer to pay for the work in progress on completion on an agreed valuation less a discount to the buyer.

For sole practitioners payment periods are normally between 1 and 3 years with a good average being 2 years for a buy out period. Two years being the average during which time normally clawback operates and therefore the vendor must stay clearly in touch with the buyers and help where appropriate as it’s in both sides interest. Where a major practice is buying another regional practice, probably in excess of £1 million individual partners in the firm being acquired are normally dealt with separately. There are those that wish to stay. Those that wish to go immediately. There are those that want to go in a relatively short period of time. Each partner needs to be dealt with differently and buyouts arranged for each partner on an agreed basis. Generally speaking the turnover in the practice providing it’s maintained is the indicative factor for future clawback as opposed to individual clients. It can however be either and each case has to be looked at on its merits for both buyer and seller.

We do charge a monthly subscription to become a member of GBS, however you can place as many adverts as you wish. It’s up to you what you charge your client as all success fees are yours.

We will send your adverts out nationwide, via email, fortnightly to our list of GBS receivers who are all quality accountancy practices.

Yes. Everything from helping you prepare an information memorandum through to taking on the case in its entirety and helping you all the way through to completion.

Yes. Any work of course that you do for your client would probably be charged on an hourly basis as usual. However we would also include a portion of the fee that we would charge for the benefit of your practice. This to be agreed on a case by case basis.

What are the costs on day one?

There are no upfront costs to Goldsmiths. There may of course be some upfront costs on bringing someone in to your building. Payments to Goldsmiths are between 1 and 2% of the fees that you take in based on the annual turnover and payable monthly by standing order one month after completion of the deal. In the final event of the fees being paid for there are no fees from the Goldsmith Group for the actual sale agreement being put in place.

Who owns the fees?

You do, right from the outset

When does the goodwill become payable?

On the death, permanent incapacity, a specific date or period of notice given to you by the practice that you have taken over.

Are there upfront fees from Goldsmiths?

No, other than membership of the programme.

Do I have to pay a fee to Goldsmiths when we eventually buy the goodwill?

No.

If it doesn’t work out, how do I get out of it?

There will always be an exit clause that if it doesn’t work out, the practitioner will have the right to take the fees back and go elsewhere.

What is the Small Practitioner Support Programme?

A service run by the Goldsmiths Group in conjunction with a nationwide network of select multi partner firms and Sole Practitioners to provide small practices of up to three partners with a more practical means of disposing of their practice through a flexible purchase agreement. The Goldsmiths SPSP service carefully selects suitable practices to oversee all accounts production under the consultation of the sole practitioner providing a great stepping stone to his/her eventual retirement.

What documentation is required?

This great service is supported by assistance with creating the trading agreement and a purchase agreement from the outset which would operate in the event of death, permanent incapacity, specific date or period of notice.

Will I receive continued income and how much would it be?

You will receive continued income from your fee base for the duration of the trading agreement. The lowest we have ever seen is about 25% and the highest just over 50% of gross fees less VAT.

How long will it take and how will you go about finding the right fit for myself and my practice?

One you have registered with Goldsmiths, we will ask you to complete a practice information form, which we will refer to when looking at practices for you, many of whom we know personally. We will generally look within a 20 mile radius of your location and will sometimes have options ready to you immediately. If this is not the case, then we would expect to be able to make an introduction to you within three months from meeting with you and to receiving your paperwork.

Do you work on the side of the buyer or seller?

Goldsmiths are impartial and will make sure the deal is sustainable and profitable for both sides. We advise both the buyer and seller and can provide assistance with the documentation to help you through the process.

How long would I be expected to stay in the new practice whilst under the trading agreement?

This will be decided between yourself and the practice you have moved into. The typical range is between one and five years.

I have a few long serving staff and would like them to be taken care of, is that at all possible?

Sometimes the acquiring practice will be happy and keen to take on a key member or two of staff but this will be looked at from both sides.

Who is this plan for?

This plan is for sole practitioners wanting peace of mind in the eventuality of death or permanent incapacity.

When you will arrange for an alternate to be put in place?

Upon joining the Secure Plan, we will commence a search to seek a suitable alternate for your practice should this be a requirement. Goldsmiths charge no fees for this service, it is part of the programme.

Would my family have any of the burden regarding the practice if the situation presented itself?

No. Goldsmiths would take care of everything regarding the sale, from sourcing the buyer, to working out the terms through to the completion of the sale of the practice. There will be no fees from Goldsmiths to the estate and therefore no added burden to your family.

BUSINESSES FOR SALE

25 YEARS EXPERIENCE

Whether your focus is practice growth, acquisition, disposal or your retirement plans and exit strategy, Goldsmith’s expertise with practice development, strategic planning and positioning, we help practices of all shapes and sizes make better decisions with confidence and discretion.
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CONTACT

LET’S TALK

  • Goldsmiths Practice Services LLP,
    39a Welbeck Street,
    London
    W1G 8DH
  • Tel: 0207 022 9829
  • Fax: 0871 433 9101
  • Monday to Thursday – 9.00am to 5.00pm
    Friday – 9.00am to 4.00pm