Most people don’t just walk up to a house, knock on the door and ask to buy the homeowner out. There’s typically some planning and preparation that goes in to making such a large purchase. The same goes in the mergers & acquisitions world. Businesses don’t approach other businesses about merging or acquiring without extensive preparation and a solid plan.

Back in 2015, we developed our strategic plan, The Rea Advantage, which set the framework for the future growth of the firm. Specifically, one of our goals is to more than double our number of key clients by the end of 2018. While organic growth through the acquisition of new clients is great, we knew that it would be important for our firm to merge with others to successfully to hit our growth goals within the designated timeframe.

Knowing What You’re Looking For 

Before even approaching another firm, it’s imperative to know exactly what you’re looking for. In our case, we know that we want to consider firms with a similar client base to ours in size and profile. And we also want to consider how many clients fit within our definition of a key client. But through numerous merger discussions over the last couple of years, the thing we found most important when considering merger candidates is culture – and whether the candidate’s culture is a good fit with our own. If a merger candidate’s culture and values don’t align with ours, we know it won’t be a good fit.

Our Recent Merger With Walthall

Our Nov. 1 merger with Walthall CPAs, based in Cleveland, is the perfect example of how two separate firm cultures came together seamlessly. We spent three years getting to know Walthall, and many of our conversations focused on culture.

Through this careful discovery process, we found even more reasons to pursue a merger with Walthall, including:

  • Walthall had offices in two of our existing locations, and it also had two in areas we wanted to be.
  • Walthall had a solid client base.
  • We have new product and service offerings that benefit Walthall clients, and likewise, Walthall had offerings that will benefit Rea clients.
  • Walthall had a lot of clients in industries where we’re looking to grow.
  • Walthall had a strong leadership team and employee base that complements our own team and creates opportunities all around.

We couldn’t be happier about our merger with Walthall and we look forward to watching the growth of our combined firm as we strive to bring the best service possible to our clients.

In The Market For A Merger?

Mergers and acquisitions are a leap a faith, but if you have a plan, prepare well and know exactly what you’re looking for, you’ll find the right fit. If you’re considering a growth strategy for your business that includes mergers and acquisitions and are looking for guidance on where to start, contact Rea & Associates. We are happy to share our experiences.

By Lee Beall, CPA (Dublin office)

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