The Emotional Side of Selling or Buying a CPA Firm-Part 1

We have all read numerous articles on How To Sell a CPA Firm, How To Buy a CPA Firm, or How to Value a CPA Firm, but rarely is a business transaction addressed from an emotional prospective. In light of selling a CPA firm or purchasing a firm, it seems sellers and buyers could benefit from gaining insight into why they “feel” a certain way thereby helping them make better choices and decisions during the process.

Emotions do affect our daily lives, but in most cases the facts or the truth of our circumstances can outweigh the emotions surrounding the circumstances, thereby allowing us to make right decisions.

What Exactly Is an Emotion?

The Urban Dictionary defines an emotion as:

A mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes; a feeling.

In addition to understanding exactly what emotions are, researchers have also tried to identify and classify the different types of emotions. Psychologist Paul Eckman suggests the basic emotions universal throughout human cultures are: fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness, sadness, embarrassment, excitement, contempt, shame, pride, satisfaction, and amusement.

Before we dive into our discussion on emotions (feelings) in the context of the sale or purchase of a CPA firm, I want to state that I am not proposing that anyone discount emotions or consider them to be a bad thing.  We all have them.   They are not just for women only!   We consider some people as stoic.  These people may not show or share their emotions; however, that does not mean they do not feel the same emotions as someone who shares their emotions freely. Our emotions remind us we are still alive!

We need to be aware of our emotional state as we make critical decisions. Most of the time we are not aware of why we are experiencing a certain emotion.  That is fine, too.   I like to think of the emotional part of a person as their intuition or instinct, and we need to listen to our inner self as part of any decision-making process.  It’s just that sometimes we run purely on emotions without weighing feelings against the facts and circumstances of a situation. We all know that can get us into trouble!

Fear, sadness, excitement, pride, and satisfaction are the emotions that will be our focus in this discussion.  I sold my own CPA firm a few years ago and have facilitated hundreds of sales over the past 13 years and these four emotions seem to be most common to the sales process.

Part 2 will address the first emotion in our list of emotions, Fear.  Stay tuned…

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