What You Should Know Before You Hire a Merger Consultant?

Avatar photoKristen Rampe, CPA / Jul 13, 2021

If you’re getting serious about a merger, you may decide you want some outside help in getting the deal done. Merger consultants can be invaluable in the process and can help you think through aspects of the merger that might not have otherwise crossed your mind.

We recently worked with a firm that was looking to do a merger of equals. In advance of our meeting, which included all partners from both firms, they sent us a list of questions. Any firm considering hiring a consultant should consider asking a similar set of questions. It’s a great way to check the credentials and fit of the consultant.Professionals at conference table


10 questions to ask a potential merger consultant

1.  In your experience what are the top 5 issues that get in the way of CPA firm mergers being successful, especially for firms our size?

2.  Describe your experience with helping firms our size merge in the last three years.

3.  What makes you unique from the other consultants we are talking to? In other words, why you?

4.  Describe what the process would be like from your perspective? What is most important for you to be involved in versus what teams from both firms can do ourselves? What documents and other information do you have that would help us get some things done ourselves?

CPA Firm Mergers: Your Complete Guide, was written because every year thousands of mergers are taking place but relatively few buyers and sellers have much merger experience in one of the largest transactions their firms will ever be a part of. We address: ►the keys to successful mergers the 21 steps in the merger process how to assess cultural fit, benefits of merging upward why buying a firm for one times fees is a steal what larger firms should expect to see from smaller firms & vice versa how to negotiate a merger – from both buyer and seller view 14 things the letter of intent should address data that should be reviewed due diligence and other issues.

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5.  Describe what you see as the advantages and disadvantages of two CPA firms merging, especially with what you know about our firms (which we know is not a lot at this point).

6.  How do you track your time and expenses, and how often do you invoice? Do you provide a detail of time and expenses with your invoice?

7.  What would you need from us in order to provide a more definite fee estimate?

8.  While we know much of it depends on how much time we can put into it, what is a reasonable timeline if things are ultimately successful in your experience?

9.  How many different projects are you involved with right now? What kind of response time can we expect if there is an urgent matter that needs to be addressed?

10.  If you could only ask 3 questions to each firm to determine if the merger might make sense or not right up front, what would they be?


In the end, in part due to the process of considering a consultant and some of the information gained in that process, these firms decided not to merge. What will your firm do with its next merger candidate?

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