William Buck Australia
As a fully integrated firm of Chartered Accountants and advisors, William Buck provides a complete solution. Putting you at the core of the business, our advisors work together to ensure that careful consideration is given to your business and personal wealth affairs.
Working closely with you and your team, our Business Advisors can help you plan and implement contemporary business strategies and practices to meet your business’s full potential.
Our commercially minded tax specialists offer clear, responsive advice to manage your tax risk, address local and international issues, and develop strategies to optimise your tax position.
Our audit team has extensive experience in a range of engagements, giving stakeholders independent and objective assurance on financial information, transactions and processes.
Our Corporate Advisory team provides objective, strategic and commercial advice across a broad range of business issues. Our work spans the breadth each engagement from the origination of ideas to managing the transaction process, valuation and structuring.
Our highly experienced team of liquidators and trustees use their extensive expertise to assist in times of financial distress, achieving the best outcome for all stakeholders.
By understanding not only what you want to achieve but why it’s important, our wealth advisors can create strategies attuned to your key priorities. The end result is a plan focused on your life goals.
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Sweeping changes to financial reporting may impact your financial position and business operations.
Our experts are here to help you understand what you need to know about Safe Harbour legislation.
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William Buck has a team of professionals with specialist experience and know-how on a range of industry sectors.
Our advisors understand the risks and opportunities unique to the agribusiness sector. Taking a strategic view of your operations they provide relevant guidance and advice.
Assisting public and private schools, vocational colleges, universities and private training providers, our education specialists provide timely and valuable assurance services together with strategic, financial and management advice.
Our Government and public sector team has substantial experience in assisting all levels of government to review their structures and develop strategies, in line with relevant legislative requirements and accounting and audit standards.
Working with over 1,600 clients in the health sector, our advisors help practitioners and health care corporates achieve their business and personal goals
Our hospitality and tourism team has a working knowledge of the industry which, when combined with our technical knowledge, can assist you in reaching your commercial goals.
By staying on top of changes in the manufacturing sector, our industry experts provide relevant and timely guidance to a broad range of manufacturing business.
Our mining and energy team has the experience and resources to help start-ups, developing businesses and well-established companies to meet their commercial goals.
Integrity and transparency are at the heart of the best Not for Profit organisations. These values re shared by our dedicated Not for Profit team, which helps entities to establish to improve performance and develop strategies for long-term growth.
Our advisors understand the challenges and opportunities facing the professional services sector first hand. This experience together with our expertise helps to determine your strategic objectives and provide concise, relevant advice to help you achieve your goals.
Our property and construction team assist on a wide range of assignments from property development to construction and large infrastructure projects. Their diverse experience, technical expertise and commercial know-how to help you tackle the important issues.
Our retail and wholesale team works with a variety of businesses from family owned operations to franchises and larger chains, to provide advice and guidance on the issues that count.
Our transport and distribution team works with businesses to review their operations, improve efficiency and productivity and ensure compliance with the latest regulatory developments.
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We work with individuals, businesses and community organisations with a particular focus on the mid-market. Drawing on our extensive experience, our advisors will challenge your thinking and re-frame problems to understand their root-cause.
We’re more than just accountants and advisors, we aspire to create positive change in the lives of our clients and our people.
Life as a CFO can be complex, exciting and demanding. Combining technical excellence with decades of working closely with and listening to the needs of CFOs, our advisors understand the competing demands of your role.
Whatever your needs, we have the expert resources to create the best outcome for you and your business. As our client, you’ll benefit from our integrated services model that puts you at the core of its business.
We create and implement personal wealth plans and tax strategies that give our clients greater certainty that their financial and personal goals will be met.
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Established in 1895, we’re more than just advisors; offering a full range of services and 360 degree support, we aspire to create a positive change in the lives of our clients and our people.
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Overall, 89.1% of respondents indicated an intention to sell their business, either to a third party buyer or (surprisingly) to another family member – refer further below to the responses in respect of:“Who do you consider the most likely buyer of your business?”
A significant number of respondents (46%) plan to exit their business within five years, with a further 24% expecting to exit their business in five to 10 years. This profile is consistent with the high proportion of respondents being from the WWII or baby boomer generation. In 10 years’ time the WWII and baby boomer generation business owners will all be aged between 58 and 83 years of age.
Significantly, applying these statistics to the total number of operating businesses in Australia would result in the owners/operators of up to 1.4 million businesses planning to exit their business over the next 10 years. Whilst a number of these may be sole proprietor businesses that will not be sold, the likelihood is that a significant number of businesses will be up “for sale” over the next 10 years. Opportunistically, this may coincide with the release of significant funds needing to be invested as a result of low M&A activity during the recent global financial crisis (GFC) affected years.
Eleven per cent of respondents stated that they did not plan to exit their business. The overwhelming reason for this was that they saw the business remaining within their family and did not regard this as an exit. Interestingly, a similar percentage did regard the transfer of the business to a family member as constituting an exit.
A significant majority (74%) did not regard the GFC as having a delaying effect on their plans to exit the business. Determining the reasons for this response is speculative but may include that the respondents believe the global and Australian economies will have recovered from the impact of the GFC by the time of their planned exit.
Given the personal investment that owners make in their business, it is not surprising that 62% of respondents regarded the continuity of the business as a going concern after their exit as important. A further 17% of respondents were undecided as to the importance of this issue. Twenty-one per cent of respondents did not regard the business continuing as a going concern after their exit as being important.
Given that a majority of respondents had not previously purchased or sold a business, it would be expected that a high percentage of owners would seek external advice to assist them in preparing their business for a sale or other exit transaction. In most cases there existed a clear appreciation that advice would be sought from a number of advisors.
The majority of respondents (54.6%) would consult an accountant when preparing to exit their business. Legal advice would be sought by 17.3% of respondents, followed by business brokers (11.1%), bank manager (1.8%) and other (8%). Just over 7% of respondents said that they would not seek external advice.
The “other” sources of advice that owners would consult included business consultants, mentors, other owners who had exited their businesses and financial advisers.
The strong preference for seeking advice from an accountant would appear to be based on a combination of factors including:
By contrast, legal advice tends to be regarded as more important in the latter stages of entering into and completing a transaction rather than in the initial stages of preparing to exit the business.
The largest proportion of respondents (39.7%) viewed competitors as the most likely buyer of their business. This was followed by family members (12.8%), management (7.1%), customers (4.5%), private equity firms (3.8%) suppliers (1.3%) and other (14.1%). A relatively high 16.7% of respondents were unsure of who would be the most likely buyer of their business.
The view that a competitor would be the most likely buyer of their business may reflect the trend towards industry consolidation that has been seen in many sectors of the Australian economy. In these sectors, growth in market share within the industry has been as a strong driver of business acquisitions.
The profile of the likely buyer can have significant implications for a number of aspects of a business sale, such as the amount of attention that needs to be invested in explaining aspects of the business and the industry in which it operates. More importantly, the profile of the likely buyer can significantly impact on the valuation and pricing strategy that would be applied in selling the business.
A competitor is often interested in growing market share and is likely to be able to derive synergy benefits from an acquisition. The value of these benefits and the extent to which they form part of the price at which the business is sold is likely to result in a higher return to the current owner, when compared to the sale of the business as a stand-alone going concern.
The issue of a sale to a family member was explored further in another survey question – refer section 4 . Business succession planning within families is often not as easy as it appears, something which the maxim regarding the third generation family business owner’s role in diminishing the value of the family business anecdotally supports.
Further indicators that family business succession may become more difficult include the fact that there have generally been fewer children born into more recent generations than in past generations. Accordingly, the availability of suitable successors may be limited. This is likely to be further complicated by the number of family breakdowns, the increased incidence of ex-nuptial births and the increase in “blended families”. If family succession issue are as significant as some suggest, the number of business owners looking for exits outside the family can be expected to increase significantly.
The relatively low rating of management as likely buyers may indicate that, whilst existing owners may have been successful in ensuring that there is a management team that can look after the business in their absence, the management team is either not aspirational enough, or talented enough, to be considered a potential buyer of most businesses.
Whatever the cause, business owners may be under-nurturing a valuable group of potential buyers of their business. Generally, the nurturing of management as a potential acquirer of a business is a function of (i) the right management and (ii) the gradual transition of management from custodians to stakeholders through appropriate incentive plans. Whilst this nurturing process can take a considerable time to implement, the benefit of having management as a potential buyer of a business on exit can be substantial.