How to “Sprint” in Exit Planning as a CPA

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics

How to "Sprint" in Exit Planning as a CPA - The Tokyo 2020 Olympics


With the start of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics today (even though it is 2021, thanks for the confusion, global pandemic!), we are launching a new article series centered around world class exit planning strategies. The Olympics, much like exit planning, encompass people from across the globe as they go for the gold. Well, in the exit of your business it is not so much “gold” as it is “money”, but the metaphor stands. 

Allyson Felix competing in Minsk, 2019

One of the amazing athletes competing in this year’s Olympic Games is Allyson Felix. Allyson is one of the fastest runners in the world and is heading to her fifth Olympics this year! Allyson is known for being one of the best sprinters and notably beat Usain Bolt in the 2019 track and field world championships in Qatar for the mixed-gender 4 x 400 m relay.

Sprints are not only confined to a race track, but a crucial part of the Value Acceleration Methodology. As a CPA, you are instrumental in guiding your business owner clients through their business exit. Owners surveyed stated the CPA was their most trusted advisor. This makes you well suited to lead the exit planning team. By educating owners on the importance of “90-Day Sprints”, they will build value in their business before they exit. 

Learn how to engage more business owner clients through the exit planning process here. 

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Hit The Ground Running With Your Exit Strategy 

Imagine running the 400-meters next to Allyson Felix with zero training or preparation. There is zero chance that you will win this race. The same goes for planning a business exit. Without a prioritized action plan, business owners lack the organization to successfully exit their business. Action plans include the important value building tasks they must undertake before successfully transitioning their business to the next owner or liquidating the business. 

What are the areas of your clients business that need the most attention? Perhaps it is their structural capital, or lack thereof. Maybe they need help decentralizing themselves from the everyday operations of the business. Whatever the main pain points may be, a prioritized action plan is the first step to take when working with owners. 

Keep a Steady Pace Throughout Your Exit

Olympic athletes have mastered the art of maintaining their energy over the course of their event. Runners must ensure they have the energy to finish the race as strong, if not stronger than when they start. An Olympian is not going to win a gold medal if they fade down the track. Likewise, an owner is not going to get the profits they desire from a sale if they lose steam midway through an exit plan. It is the job of their advisor to keep the pace and manage the owner’s expectations throughout this process. 

Usually owners are excited about the process in the beginning and are eager to build value and incrementally improve their business. However, Chris says, “What usually happens is that you will come out of the Triggering Event very excited and with a lot of energy. From that point forward, the enthusiasm begins to wane. About nine months later, your Wow factor is at its lowest point.” This is where 90-Day Sprints come into play.   

90 Day Sprints 

Think of 90-Day sprints as your training program. Allyson Felix is not immediately ready to run the 400-meters. She goes through training programs, rest periods, and strength training. Business owners must go through a similar program to build value in their business. By breaking the exit planning process into manageable 90-Day Sprints, owners and their advisors can work on specific problem areas without getting overwhelmed. 

Chris Snider writes in Walking To Destiny, “The goal is to come up with no more than five personal and five business actions to implement in 90-day sprints. Think of it as similar to interval training. You get your heartbeat up, rest, then do it over and over again. But what should you do first, second, and third? How do you prioritize?” Without a streamlined strategy to deploy, owners are not prepared to execute their personal and professional changes they need to protect the value they have. Let alone build upon that value to position themselves to harvest that value when the day comes to sell. 

By utilizing the Value Acceleration Methodology in the Exit Planning process, CPAs have the framework to set their owners up for success. The Value Acceleration Methodology helps focus personal and business goals and align daily business operations. 

How CEPA Helps CPAs Go For Gold!

A CPA with a Certified Exit Planning Advisor credential gains more than an additional four letters after their name in an email signature. The Value Acceleration Methodology is a proven process to help an owner rapidly build value and sell at a premium. This means the firm gains revenue opportunities across the board. Helping your client’s get the most out of their exit plan, builds a strong relationship with them, as well as the future owner of the company. Scott Snider, President of EPI, says, “You secure that relationship for generations to come by utilizing the Value Acceleration Methodology”. 

Learn how CEPA benefits CPAs Here

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