Market Data Deep Dive - Anatomy of a Practice Sale

Unpacking The Who, What and Why in Thirty Recent Practice Sales

 

Published May 2024

Last week we released our latest six monthly Market Data and Insights including trends in selling prices,  levels of buyer activity, retention terms and how long sales are taking.

As with previous years, we are now taking a closer look at the profile of the thirty recent practice sales that underpin this Market Data: Their primary service lines, levels of fees sold,  age of sellers, reasons for selling and the gender of buyers and sellers.

Demand for practices remains high and competition is fierce. Sellers cannot be complacent though. Whether you are planning to buy or sell,  this is a valuable read to build your understanding of the market and set yourself up for a successful outcome. 

 

 

Key Findings

 

Service Lines

The majority of practices sold focus on taxation and accounting services, including business advisory. However, consistent with previous periods, nearly 40% include bookkeeping or financial planning as a key focus, or operate as specialist bookkeeping or audit practices.

 

 

 

Fees Sold

The majority of practices sold will always skew towards smaller practices (<$1 million) given the significant number of these across Australia and the propensity for larger practices to better internal succession planning. However, nearly half the practices sold had fees over $1 million.

 


 

 

Age of Seller

57% of sellers are aged under 60 which is materially higher than the previous period (43%). We are not surprised at this trend which we have seen materialise over the last five years. It is getting harder to run a small practice in a way that is sustainable and more practice owners are electing to sell earlier for reasons other than retirement. 

 

 

 

Reason for Selling

Consistent with the previous period, nearly 40% of sellers are selling for reasons other than retirement with gaining greater resources and support, and lifestyle changes, being increasing drivers.

 


 

Gender

43% of sellers are female which is an increasing trend (33% in last period).  There remains a significant gap with only one female buyer amongst the cohort of thirty.  We consider this a disappointing outcome as we regularly encounter experienced and capable female practice owners looking to accelerate their growth through acquisition. We do expect the percentage of female buyers to increase over the long term.

 

  

 

 

The Wrap

The majority of practice owners selling are male with fees under $1million.  This is no surprise. What has changed though is that the majority are no longer over sixty and as many are selling for reasons such as additional support and lifestyle changes as they are retiring. 

There is clearly not one size that fits all and understanding these nuances is important to succeed in todays competitive market for practice sales.

  • Sellers should go to market understanding what is most important to them and be able to articulate this with clarity and confidence.
  • Buyers who take the time to understand what's important to the seller, and provide flexible solutions to meet these needs, will stand out from the pack.

To discuss these findings in more detail and what they mean specifically for your situation, contact DMY’s Directors below:

 

Mark Emney

Mobile: 0434 079 530
Email: 
mark@dmyassoc.com.au

 

Daniel Jones

Mobile: 0401 493 773
Email: 
daniel@dmyassoc.com.au