Client Communication After an M&A Deal - Sample Client Letters

BY JOEL SINKIN AND TERRENCE PUTNEY
April 1, 2009

The letters you send to clients announcing a merger or acquisition should reassure in order to retain. These samples suggest what to say to clients of the predecessor and successor firms:

Letter to Clients of the Predecessor Firm

Dear [client]:

We are pleased to announce our forthcoming merger with ABC & Co. It is scheduled to take place officially on May 1, 2009. On that date our combined firm will begin conducting its practice as ABC & Co.

 

Our firm began its professional practice in 1976. Its growth over the past 33 years has been predominantly internal, stemming from the referrals of our client base and those of other professionals. The growth and development of our professional staff has evolved in a similar manner. We have attracted high-quality, committed professionals and invested in their training, development and growth. As a result of those efforts, we have experienced good growth over the past several years. This has been in no small way also directly related to the success our clients have had in their business and personal pursuits.

 

We have decided to seek a merger with another firm because we believe that a larger organization will allow us to provide a wider array of services and more depth. As you know, in our area of the country finding and retaining excellent people is a constant challenge. A larger organization will also mean our associates will benefit from even more and stronger career opportunities.

 

ABC & Co. shares the same values we do. We conducted an extensive search within our region looking for an opportunity like this. ABC & Co. exceeded our hopes for a firm we can combine with and continue the tradition we have for excellent service, deep expertise, and an environment our clients and associates want to be a part of.

 

We will be able to provide you many new services and areas of expertise in the future. We look forward to discussing those in more depth with you. However, there are several things we want to point out that will not change:

 

  • You will continue to work with the same people in our firm you have in the past. All of our people are being retained in their current roles.
  • Our fee structure will not change.
  • The services we have provided you in the past will continue to be offered by the combined firm.

 

We will be moving our offices to ABC & Co.’s offices at Address, City, State ZIP around May 1. Our existing phone numbers will continue to be operational for the time being although we anticipate consolidating phone numbers as soon as possible.

 

[Alternative to previous paragraph]

 

We will continue to operate from our current offices. All the contact information for us will remain the same except our e-mail addresses will change. The convention for those addresses is [first initial][last name]@abccpa.com.

 

[Conclusion to letter begins here.]

 

If you have any questions about this exciting news and what it will mean for you, please contact any of us at any time. We look forward to introducing you to some of our new partners and associates.

 

We are grateful to you not only for giving us the opportunity to provide you with accounting services but for your loyalty and friendship, which have enriched our relationship. We are confident that our new affiliation will serve us all well.

 

The Partners and Associates of
XYZ & Co.

 

 

 

Letters to Clients of the Successor Firm

 

Dear [client]:

 

We are pleased to announce our forthcoming merger with XYZ & Co. It is scheduled to take place officially on May 1, 2009. Our combined firm will operate as ABC & Co.

 

Our firm began its professional practice in 1972. Its growth over that time has been predominantly internal, stemming from the referrals of our client base and those of other professionals. The growth and development of our professional staff has evolved in a similar manner. We have attracted high-quality, committed professionals and invested in their training, development and growth. As a result of those efforts, we have experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. This has been in no small way also directly related to the success our clients have had in their business and personal pursuits.

 

We decided to seek to grow our practice through a merger because we believe that a larger organization will allow us to provide a wider array of services and more depth. As you know, in our area of the country finding and retaining excellent people is a constant challenge. A larger organization will also mean our associates will benefit from even more and stronger career opportunities.

 

XYZ & Co. shares the same values we do. We conducted an extensive search within our region looking for an opportunity like this. XYZ & Co. exceeded our hopes for a firm we can combine with and continue the tradition we have for excellent service, deep expertise, and an environment our clients and associates want to be a part of.

 

There are many new services and areas of expertise we will be able to provide you in the future. We look forward to discussing those in more depth with you. However, there are several things we want to point out that will not change:

 

  • You will continue to work with the same people in our firm you have in the past. All of our people are being retained in their current roles.
  • Our fee structure will not change.
  • The services we have provided you in the past will continue.

 

XYZ & Co. will be moving their offices to our existing offices around May 1. Our existing phone numbers will continue to be the ones you will use to contact us.

 

If you have any questions about this exciting news and what it will mean for you, please contact any of us at any time. We look forward to introducing you to some of our new partners and associates.

 

We are grateful to you not only for giving us the opportunity to provide you with accounting services but for your loyalty and friendship, which have enriched our relationship. We are confident that our new affiliation will serve us all well.

 

The Partners and Associates of
ABC & Co.

 

Download a Word document with both letters here.

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: EARLY CAREER

Making manager: The key to accelerating your career

Being promoted to manager is a key development in a young public accountant’s career. Here’s what CPAs need to learn to land that promotion.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: MIDDLE CAREER

Motivation and preparation can pave the path to CFO

CPAs in business and industry face intense competition to land a coveted CFO job. Learn how to best prepare yourself for the role.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: LATE CAREER

Second act: Consulting

CPAs are using experience to carve out late-career niches. Learn how to successfully make a late-career transition to consulting, from CPAs who have done it.