These Are Major Deal Killers


Too many 1040s, no minimum 1040 fee, low average fees, and if the total 1040 revenue is a high percentage of overall revenue, that is a difficult scenario.


There needs to be alignment so a firm can absorb the work; i.e. acquiring a fraud practice requires a certified internal personnel to take it over.

Fixed Fees

These arrangements can be value-billed, premium arrangements or sinkholes that mask low fee arrangements. We know how to analyze this quickly.

Real Estate

A seller’s prior real estate decisions are not the buyer’s problem. If the seller is bundling the practice with the real estate, the buyer should walk, unless the buyer wants the physical building.

Non-Defined Terms

Handshakes are honorable, but cannot be used. Lack of written details with undefined timelines, not written into the contract will create post-transaction nightmares.



Some fee differences can work, but a wide fee gap may be too difficult to overcome. The key is examining the cost of labor in a lower fee situation.

Industry Alignment

For example, a firm with a banking niche might be financially attractive, but is it in your core competency, and if not, are willing to dedicate time to learn it?


A seller or upward merger candidate who is uncertain if they want to leave sell, merge or is being indecisive on how long they want to stay.


Using a lawyer inexperienced in CPA firm transactions can be a disaster. Your attorney needs accounting firm M&A background or they may kill a good deal.


It only takes a few words to kill a deal.

Some potential opportunities never make it past the first call because of how the opportunity is approached and what is said to either the buyer/acquirer or the seller/merger candidate. These items below though are standard areas where you need to look to see if a deal killer exists in your opportunity. Although you never want to kill a deal, you do want to kill one early in the process if there is not real hope.

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