Reliable Financial Data Is A Top Driver Of Business Value
Most importantly, however, reliable financial data is the impetus for two critical events to occur in successful small business acquisitions: 1) the ability for a prospective buyer to forecast the future probability of growth and prosperity of the company, and 2) the likelihood that a bank will provide financing for the acquisition
- Understand and know your profit margins on each line of business.
- Know the breakdown of sales and profitability by territory.
- Is there recurring sales in your revenue stream. Do you have contractual relationships with some of your customers? And, are the contracts transferrable to a new owner?
- Understand your customer base. Buyers would be interested to know if you have customer concentration issues. Can you show the percentage of total revenue each of your customers generate year by year. What industry sectors do you serve? What geographical area do you serve? Are your customers mostly local, regional, international?
- Are customers invoiced promptly? Do they pay on time? Buyers would want to review your accounts receivable and aging reports because this will indicate if your customers are facing cash flow issues.
- Regularly evaluate your costs and pricing.
- Are your accounts payable on time? Do you take advantage of cash discounts?
- Can you produce cash flow statements with projections and working capital analysis?
- One-time expenses and expenses for start-up programs and businesses should be separately identified.
- One-time expenses and costs associated with certain types of business growth need to be isolated in your internal reporting so that you can tell how the underlying business is doing without these non-recurring costs.
- Compare each year’s performance to the prior years. Create a document that compares performance from year to year. In the document, explain the reason for the variances. Doing this yearly increases the probability that you’ll remember the specifics when you sell your company.
- Regularly compare your company’s performance to industry benchmarks. For instance, if you have inventory three times higher than the industry standard, too much cash is tied up in excess inventory, which means you have less working capital on hand. If inventory is kept right-sized, the company would be more attractive to a buyer.