Dominic Chouinard
Lead Senior Director | CPA, CA | Financial advisory

Updated on July 16, 2021

Interested in acquiring a business but unsure about how to get started? Here are the main steps and considerations.

It’s worth doing your homework before diving into a major undertaking like acquiring a business. That way you’ll know what’s feasible for you and who you can rely on for assistance.

Choose your team and partners

Before you start looking around at what businesses are up for sale, take the time to go through these steps.

1- Define your budget

How much capital do you have? That’s the first aspect to consider when determining what size of company fits your budget.

2- Contact the bank and other sources of financing

Approach your bank or other actors in the financial field — like Fonds FTQ, Investissement Québec and BDC — to introduce yourself, explain your intentions and get the ball rolling on the next steps.

3- Choose the right accounting and legal partners

From the get-go, it’s important to involve partners that you have an affinity with. Tell them about you and your process so that they’ll be prepared when an opportunity comes along and you’re able to show them the project details.

4- Prepare your team

You can’t successfully acquire a business without a competent team behind you. Start putting a group together now. That way the team will be ready to spring into action when the time comes. Otherwise, you could end up missing out on good opportunities.

Strengthen and broaden your network of contacts

There are a number of different ways to find good business opportunities, but in order to find the best one, you need to know what’s out there and how the different offers compare. Talk to the people you know and see who can help you expand your search.

1- Accountants and lawyers

The accountants and professionals in your circle may know if their other clients are looking for partners or buyers. Don’t overlook this valuable source of information.

2- Bankers

These days, banks employ people to help certain clients sell their businesses. By connecting sellers to the right buyer, the bank hopes to maintain a business relationship with the client and their business.

3- Centre de transfert d’entreprise du Québec (CTEQ)

This group’s regional organizations help facilitate connections between business buyers and sellers. Their website includes a directory of prospects.

4- Acquisition.biz

This website publishes ads for businesses for sale by owners who prefer to find buyers on their own.

5- Contact businesses directly

Some prospective buyers choose to contact businesses directly and inquire whether the owner is interested in selling. It’s a gutsy move that can sometimes be risky because entrepreneurs tend to shy away from disclosing their intentions for privacy reasons.

6- Business brokers

Brokers usually have a portfolio of companies for sale, including businesses of all sizes, in a variety of fields and geographic regions.

Why work with a broker?

Even though there isn’t a professional order that governs business brokers, these professionals are experts. They know how to assist entrepreneurs with the acquisition process. For buyers, there are several advantages to working with a broker.

1- Focus on serious sellers

You’ll know the seller is serious about selling and ready to let go of their business.

2- Know the company’s fair value

A good broker can help estimate the value of the business that’s for sale. In fact, they’ll complete the assessment before putting the opportunity on the market. This reassures buyers that the seller has a realistic idea of how much their business is worth.

3- Rest assured that the company wants an external leader

When sellers choose to work with brokers, it shows that the company’s stakeholders have already ruled out transferring the business to an internal party, such as a family member.

4- Save time and minimize risks

Your broker will oversee the various steps in the sale process. They’ll orchestrate everyone involved (bankers, accountants, lawyers, etc.), which helps save time and reduces the risk of the seller backing out.

5- Delegate sensitive tasks

Brokers are skilled at sending the right message at the right time. Since they already have the seller’s trust, they’re in a better position to broach more sensitive subjects with their client.

Finding a business for sale can be a long and arduous process. Being adequately prepared can go a long way in making the transaction a success. Having a solid plan and all your paperwork in order will prove that you’re serious about making an offer and it will inspire both the broker’s confidence and the seller’s.

This article is written by Dominic Chouinard.

22 Mar 2021  |  Written by :

Dominic Chouinard is an expert in business sales and acquisitions at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton....

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On March 16, 2021, Finance Minister Ernie L. Steeves tabled New Brunswick’s 2021-22 budget (Budget 2021). The estimates provided in Budget 2021 show that the province projects a deficit of $12.7 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year, compared to a $92.4 million surplus projected for the same fiscal year in the previous budget.

Corporate tax rates

No changes to the corporate tax rates or the $500,000 small business limit are proposed.

Sales and excise taxes

Budget 2021 proposes no changes to the current 15% HST rate, which is composed of a federal component of 5% and a provincial component of 10%.

Effective April 1, 2021, the provincial carbon tax will increase from $30 per tonne to $40 per tonne. As a result, gas prices will increase by 2.21 cents/litre and diesel prices will increase by 2.68 cents/litre.

Download the pdf below for more details.

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Eric Dufour
Vice-President, Partner | FCPA, FCA | Business Transformation

Is your organization stagnating and lacking agility? Is innovation getting harder to achieve?

It may be time to review your business’ governance so that your directors are more coordinated, receive better support, and have clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Good governance ABCDs: agility, behaviour, cooperation and diligence

No matter what type of business you run, good governance can set you on the path to growth and agility.

Companies with agile governance and effective mechanisms for taking action were able to respond more quickly when the COVID-19 crisis hit. This minimized their risk exposure and bolstered their reputations. Now that companies are looking ahead and introducing new initiatives, taking a proactive approach to risk and governance could help drive innovation and growth.

Our innovative approach is based on the ABCDs of good governance:

  • Agility: Establish a more functional and agile governance vehicle;
  • Behaviour: Adopt best practices to help you fulfil your role within the organization;
  • Cooperation: Embrace teamwork, share roles and responsibilities, delegate authority on certain issues and promote key players;
  • Diligence: Make sure your governance practices are aligned with your strategic plan, succession plan, etc.

Putting the ABCDs into practice

Reviewing and implementing a governance plan isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Here are some of the things you’ll need:

  • Self-assessments, diagnostic exercises and workshops to help you collect key indicators and determine which areas need improvement;
  • Training and workshops on governance best practices for managers;
  • A delegation of authority matrix and policy to make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities;
  • A skills and representation matrix to ensure your organization has the right expertise and diversity to meet its goals.

Communication is key to effective governance

Establishing mechanisms for communication between committees and groups is essential to effective governance. In addition to ensuring that everyone receives critical information, these mechanisms go a long way in boosting stakeholder engagement. Essentially, good governance is dependent on strong communications, so don’t underestimate the importance of this consideration. You may even want to bring in seasoned professionals for assistance. It’s a worthwhile investment!

Good and effective governance must take into account your organization’s strategic plan, succession plan and values. Make sure you’re on track to meeting your targets by putting the right people in the right positions and by assigning them suitable roles and responsibilities. Including external directors is sometimes valuable. They can challenge ideas in a positive sense, offering perspectives that are emotionally independent from the organization’s DNA.

Keep in mind that governance isn’t the only aspect that needs to be reviewed regularly. You should also periodically assess the processes used to validate your business strategies and priorities. While you’re busy paying attention to other things, factors such as economic conditions or government policies may change.

Agile governance will allow you to adjust your Behaviours while Cooperating and doing your due Diligence.

Good governance is essential to organizational growth. It’s as simple as ABCD!

What are the benefits?

Conducting a governance review can ensure that the head of the company isn’t isolated and that some of the burden of responsibility is taken off their shoulders. By getting a whole management team in place and ensuring that each member understands their role, you improve the company’s agility, growth prospects and long-term viability.

A governance review can also help you:

  • Strengthen trust between directors;
  • Create value;
  • Establish common ground for incoming and outgoing leaders;
  • Encourage shared decision making and delegation of authority;
  • Promote innovation and renewed strategic directions;
  • Manage risks;
  • Prepare and implement plans;
  • Communicate more effectively;
  • Engage stakeholders;
  • Adopt the right vehicles for your strategies.

Good governance is essential for growth and assistance programs exist to help you implement a structured and effective governance review process.

Regardless of the size of your company, our experts can help you assess your governance and align your practices with your business objectives. Contact us today!

17 Mar 2021  |  Written by :

Éric Dufour is a vice-president at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in management...

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The Grant Thornton International IFRS team has published Telling the COVID-19 story.

Annual financial statements will always be a critical communication to investors and other stakeholders. But how effective will they be in explaining to stakeholders how the global COVID-19 pandemic has affected organizations?

While the focus over the last three years has been on explaining the introduction of new International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) dealing with revenue, financial instruments and leasing, readers of the financial statements will want to know how the global pandemic changed the business.

Telling the COVID-19 story is not only about reflecting what the financial reporting standards require disclosure on. It is also about correctly applying the materiality concept to disclosure and not being fearful of regulatory and stakeholder challenge. Those charged with the governance of reporting entities, particularly those that are listed, have another opportunity to reflect on how they want to tell their story of their business activities throughout 2020 and how they are responding to the pandemic.

The publication Telling the COVID-19 story describes and illustrates how entities can better tell their COVID-19 story using four key tools that can help explain what has happened over the last twelve months.

The publication Telling the COVID-19 story follows this IFRS Adviser Alert.