Client Success: 20 Years and 3 Generations of Business Succession

by | Nov 22, 2022 | Business Strategy

There are studies out there that say the average accounting firm client stays with their accounting firm between five and six years. However, many of Provision CPA’s clients have been with us for between 10 and 20 years, and we have helped many of them with business succession to the second and third generations in their families.

Twenty years ago, we had a fairly new client with a successful and long-standing electrical services business. It wasn’t long before the mom-and-pop owners were ready to retire and pass the business on to the husbands of their two daughters, who were conveniently electricians. 

Provision CPA did what any accounting firm would do for a client looking to sell, and we came up with an objective valuation of the business. However, we found that the real value we brought to the table was empathizing and understanding the positions of the seller and buyer and moderating when needed. A family business sale needs to really work for both sides because if it doesn’t, family relationships will suffer, and no one wants that. After navigating family dynamics and negotiations, the mom-and-pop family business successfully sold to the next generation. The second-generation owners have been our clients for the past 20 years and are now looking to retire and sell to their two sons, the third generation. (crazy, right?)

Due to family dynamics, the sale has faced some headwinds, and they came to us to help mediate. Both sides trusted Provision because we worked with them for 20 years, knew their business inside and out, and forged strong personal relationships. With this knowledge and the earned status of a reliable third party, we’ve helped them navigate the complex and often arduous path to a sale.

We feel it’s an honour to have earned the trust of not one, not two, but three generations of this family and to be by their side as trusted advisors for two decades. When we work so closely with our clients for this long, we can’t help but build relationships that mean so much more to us than just business. That’s a real success in our books. 

Why Provision CPA?

Unvarnished Advice Provides Real Value

Many entrepreneurs will have moments along their entrepreneurial journey where it will look like they should sell their business due to being overwhelmed with business and personal situations. This is where we will step in and give our entrepreneurial clients the advice they NEED to hear. While the advice will be tailored to each client, the primary message is not to make major business decisions with fresh emotions and without considering all angles. 

The reason why our clients stay with us for so long and why we have helped so many businesses through business succession is that we give unvarnished advice when they need it the most. It’s difficult for entrepreneurs to see the whole picture when they are in the frame – they may not see that they’re only 2 feet from gold and shouldn’t give up. With this common example alone, Provision CPA has provided invaluable expert advice to our clients.

Expert Advice Before Anything Else

An accounting firm has to be able to offer expert accounting advice before it can offer anything else. What keeps our clients with us for so long is we seek to provide value BEYOND accounting and help our clients work on their business by helping with long-term planning, tax strategies, exit plans, successions, and the list goes on.

Personal and Long-Term Relationships Matter

We give a shit about our clients, and because of that, we’ve made long-lasting relationships with our clients. These personal relationships are the glue that keeps Provision CPA and our clients together. It’s common for us to know the entire immediate and extended family of our clients. It helps give us valuable insight into both the personal and business considerations, which is critically important because they can be equally important when providing advice and recommended paths forward.

Next: 4 Generations of Business Succession?!

20 successful years of providing expert accounting advice, moderating family business sales, and building personal and long-term relationships give us confidence in saying that Provision CPA will one day help one of our clients with a fourth-generation business succession (fingers crossed!)

Want to learn more about what we do and how we can help? Contact us today.

Image Credit: Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.