Due Diligence on Business Sale or Purchase

Due Diligence on Business Sale or Purchase Accountancy Norfolk

Conducting due diligence is a critical step in the process of buying or selling a business. It involves a thorough investigation to ensure that all aspects of the business are understood and that there are no hidden liabilities or risks. Here’s a comprehensive checklist of areas to cover during due diligence on a business sale:

1. Financial Due Diligence

  • Financial Statements: Review the last 3-5 years of financial statements, including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
  • Tax Returns: Examine the company’s tax returns for the same period.
  • Debtors and Creditors: Analyse aging reports to understand the collectability of receivables and the timeliness of payables.
  • Debt Obligations: Identify any outstanding loans, lines of credit, or other debt obligations.
  • Financial Projections: Assess the validity of the business’s financial projections and budgets.

2. Operational Due Diligence

  • Business Model: Understand the business model, revenue streams, and profit margins.
  • Key Customers and Suppliers: Evaluate relationships with major customers and suppliers. Review contracts and agreements.
  • Stocks: Check the inventory levels, turnover rates, and valuation methods.
  • IT Systems: Review the company’s IT infrastructure, software licenses, and data security measures.
  • Facilities and Equipment: Inspect the condition and ownership status of facilities and major equipment.

3. Legal Due Diligence

  • Corporate Documents: Review the company’s incorporation documents, bylaws, and minutes from board meetings.
  • Contracts and Agreements: Examine all contracts and agreements, including leases, sales agreements, supplier contracts, and employment agreements.
  • Litigation: Investigate any past, ongoing, or potential litigation or legal disputes.
  • Intellectual Property: Verify ownership and protection of intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

4. HR and Management Due Diligence

  • Organisational Structure: Understand the organizational chart and the roles and responsibilities of key management.
  • Employee Contracts: Review employment contracts, non-compete agreements, and benefit plans.
  • Employee Turnover: Analyse employee turnover rates and reasons for departures.
  • Cultural Fit: Assess the company culture and its alignment with the acquiring company’s culture.

5. Market and Competition Due Diligence

  • Market Position: Evaluate the company’s position in the market and its competitive advantages.
  • Industry Trends: Research current and projected trends in the industry.
  • Competitors: Identify key competitors and assess their strengths and weaknesses.

6. Environmental and Regulatory Due Diligence

  • Compliance: Ensure the business complies with all relevant local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Environmental Impact: Investigate any environmental liabilities or compliance issues.
  • Permits and Licenses: Verify that all necessary permits and licenses are in place and up to date.

7. Customer and Sales Due Diligence

  • Customer Base: Analyse the customer base, including customer demographics, purchasing patterns, and customer satisfaction.
  • Sales Performance: Review sales performance metrics, sales processes, and sales pipelines.
  • Marketing Strategies: Assess the effectiveness of marketing strategies and campaigns.

8. Risk Assessment

  • Business Risks: Identify any significant risks, including market risks, operational risks, financial risks, and legal risks.
  • Risk Mitigation: Evaluate the strategies in place to mitigate identified risks.

9. Integration Planning

  • Transition Plan: Develop a transition plan to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.
  • Synergies: Identify potential synergies and integration opportunities between the acquired business and the acquiring company.

Documentation and Reporting

  • Due Diligence Report: Compile a comprehensive due diligence report summarising findings, highlighting potential risks, and making recommendations.
  • Action Plan: Create an action plan to address any issues uncovered during the due diligence process.


Thorough due diligence helps mitigate risks and ensures informed decision-making when buying or selling a business. By systematically evaluating financials, operations, legalities, human resources, market position, and risks, buyers and sellers can achieve a fair and transparent transaction.

Get in touch

If you would like further information on these areas, please contact one of the team.

Phone: 01508 333040

Email: office@abcabacus.co.uk

Website: abcabacus.co.uk