How Emotional Investment Affects an
Accounting Practice Sale
Ken Berry, CBI
Principal and Vice President
How Emotional Investment Affects an Accounting Practice Sale
In our Becoming a Rainmaker workshop, we remind our participants that prospective clients buy
for an emotional reason. They need an accounting service performed, of course. But there are
many ways to satisfy that need and many accountants willing to do it. The most successful
accountants take the time and have a process to uncover the client’s emotional motivation
underlying the need and then cater their service to encompass this motivation.
We can apply this same principle to buying and selling accounting practices. Buyers buy for
emotional reasons and for a successful acquisition it is important for them and those they are in
dialog with to understand their emotional motivation.
We all function alike. Human behavior involves three parts – motivation, intention and action.
• Motivation is the driving force. It is the need, want, or desire that inspires movement.
Intention is what we aim for. It is what we hope to accomplish.
• Action is what we do.
It is also the case that sellers sell for an emotional reason. The decision to sell a practice is an
emotional decision. When a practice owner offers her practice for sale, she is offering many
years of work to the world.
• Risking investment in property, furnishing, fixtures, equipment and training.
• Slowly developing the value of the business one precious client at a time.
• Long days and nights during tax season.
• Building trust in the business community providing one careful audit after another.
• Advising clients to make strategic business decisions.
When it is time to sell a practice the seller is filled with many complex emotions, some of them
will be conflicting emotions.
I am burned out, but I do enjoy many aspects of the job.
I am aging and just can’t keep up with the work-load any more, but I love what I do.
I am going through a divorc