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Retiring Accountants

Michels & Hanley is actively looking to acquire or merge with an accountant who plans to retire within the next 1-5 years.

Acquisition History

  • In 2005, M&H purchased a small “side” practice from a CPA who was moving to South Carolina.  The practice had annual billings of $21,600 and 100% of the clients were retained.  Thirteen years later, every client other than one who passed away, one who sold his business, and one that went out of business remains with the firm.

  • From 2013-2015, M&H purchased a $150,000 practice from a retiring accountant over three separate stages.  Every client except for one was retained.  Annual billings from this practice have increased as M&H has been able to provide additional services to these clients.

  • In 2016, M&H purchased a small practice from a retiring accountant.  Every client was retained.  Annual billings from this practice have increased as M&H has been able to provide additional services to these clients.

  • In 2017, M&H purchased a small practice from the widow of an accountant who had passed away several months earlier.  Despite a sixth month gap between this accountant’s passing and the date of purchase, M&H was able to retain over half the clients.  This transaction serves as an unfortunate reminder that it is critical for accountants to have a succession plan in place.  Once clients learn of their accountant’s passing, they start looking for a new accountant almost immediately.  The practice that they worked so hard to build can disappear very quickly.  If this accountant had a succession plan in place, we are confident that 95% or more of her clients would have been retained.

  • In 2017, M&H purchased a $300,000 practice from a retiring accountant who provided tax, consulting, and write-up services.  94% of the clients were retained.  Of the clients that were retained, we have been able to provide additional services the retiring accountant couldn’t, which brought value to the relationship as well as many tax savings opportunities.  One year later, all clients have remained with the firm other than two businesses that were sold.

What Makes M&H Unique and Attractive to Your Clients

  • Both partners of our firm are young and planning to work another 30+ years each.  While going through this transition, your clients will want to know that their next accountant will outlast them so they won’t have to go through another transition down the road.  We plan to be around long enough to help your clients retire, sell their businesses, and transfer their assets to their heirs.  During all previous acquisitions, the clients we acquired have viewed our youth as a positive aspect of the transition.

  • Both partners are recognized as leaders in the accounting profession and the community.  M&H was ranked the #1 Accounting Firm on Long Island by readers of the Long Island Business News, both partners have been named as Top 40 Accountants Under 40 by CPA Practice Advisor and by Long Island Business News.  SmartCEO recognized M&H as one of the fastest growing companies on Long Island.  Michels is the Immediate Past President of the Suffolk County Chapter of the NYSSCPA and Chairperson of the NYSSCPA Real Estate & Construction Committee.  Hanley was named the Person of the Year by the Kings Park Chamber of Commerce, and has won several awards including Star Network's Kings of Long Island, Irish Echo's Young Irish-American Leaders, ExecuLeaders Excellence in Small Business Accounting, and the Long Island Business News Business & Finance Award. 

  • In most acquisition deals, we include any fee increases, additional services, and referrals in the buyout.  This means that we pay you (or your estate) more than the typical firm that will only pay out on prior year billings.

    • If a client starts a new business, we pay you as if that business existed when we purchased your practice

    • If you refer a new client to us, we pay you as if that client was part of the client list we purchased

    • If a client requests additional services, we pay you as if you performed those services prior to us purchasing your practice

  • We’re patient.  We aren’t vultures looking for accountants who want to retire right now.  We enjoy working with accountants several years before they’re ready to retire in order to put a succession plan in place.  We can negotiate terms of a future deal so that we’re ready to step in and purchase your practice at a moment’s notice.  Should you pass away unexpectedly or become disabled, the terms of the purchase will already be in place to ensure a smooth transition so that you, your widow, and your family have peace of mind knowing that one of your main assets is protected.  We are also willing to explore two-stage deals in situations where that is the best fit for you, us, and your clients.

  • We work hard, we’re tech savvy, and we offer a wide variety of services.  There might be services your clients want that they’ve never asked you about, there may be services they want and you don’t provide, or there may be services that they never knew they were interested in.  These additional services keep the clients happy and could result in higher fees that you will share in.

  • We keep things the same.  For the first 1-2 years, we plan to keep everything as similar as possible for your clients – same fee structure, same procedures, etc. to help make the transition as smooth as possible and ensure a high retention rate.


If you would like to meet with us to discuss your situation and any possible merger or acquisition ideas, please reach out to Brian Michels or Michael Hanley via phone (631-382-3999) or email (brian@mhcpafirm.com or mhanley@mhcpafirm.com).

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