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  • Writer's pictureEric Williams

Building your dream team: essential players for your exit planning process


Many business owners underestimate the nuances and complexity of exit planning. Unfortunately, this is often exacerbated by some professional advisors who strive to overly control the process or who want to be the sole representative of the business owner in assisting with the process. For example, a contract CFO, wealth manager, CPA, or attorney may be keenly interested in exit and transition planning and may have significant experience, formal education, and other training on the subject. Yet it would be the rare individual with the expertise and skill in all areas necessary to help a business owner optimize their exit.


A business owner should be looking for advisors who play well with others. Yes, an attorney plays a vital role in the exit process, but they aren't an accountant and may not possess some of the knowledge of a CPA. Likewise, while the attorney may be good at helping protect clients through appropriate legal documents, and the CPA may have invaluable advice on the tax implications of the deal structure, neither of these professionals may have the skill set that an investment banker or business broker has of analyzing, valuing, and packaging the business or of finding and screening the best buyer and negotiating a win-win deal. And what about planning for what a business owner will do after the sale? Is a business broker, investment banker, attorney, or CPA going to be the best person to provide advice on the type of assets to own to securely provide for your long-term financial needs and reach goals in the next chapter of your life? Or might a wealth manager be better equipped to provide this type of guidance? There is risk in allowing a wealth manager or attorney to be the lone ranger in your exit planning process: a cottage industry has been developed around exit planning for wealth managers and attorneys, but many such exit-planning certification programs focus on complex tax-deferral strategies that transfer the business to an insider or family member but which restrict the use of proceeds, may involve considerable risk, and can result in both much lower prices and more deferred consideration than may be achieved via a sale to a third party.


Following is a link to an article published by Axial that provides insights on the value of a good Exit Team: How Deal Teams Increase the Odds of a Favorable Exit.

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