Professional valuation tips for a smooth business sale

Using the services of professional valuers will go some way towards ensuring you don't pay more than necessary when buying a business. That, and taking a thorough look at stock levels, customer traffic and the books of account for tax returns.

Because it's illegal to under-report tax returns to the authorities, submitting the wrong figures after buying a business will attract penalties, notes business consultancy boss Joseph Kirubi, who's been having a look at the advantages of buying a business over starting one from scratch.

Acquiring "a tried and tested formula" is preferable, he reckons, since the only challenge you face is polishing the venture before you. Unless a business has been put on the market because of poor sales, of course.

"The prospective new owner should find out if the reason the seller is leaving the business is uncooperative staff, because this can confront the one coming in," he adds to Business Daily. Such a situation can be counteracted if workers are psychologically prepared for impending change, he suggests.

On the subject of proper valuations, he concludes that it's not just tangible assets like furniture, fixtures and IT equipment that should be accounted for, but also "intangibles" such as goodwill, whose calculation keeps changing. In accounting speak, that refers to what is paid for a business above its book value (in case you were wondering), and is usually on a "willing buyer-willing seller basis".