I’m not a lawyer, but…. I know enough to be dangerous
Sometimes there are a lot of people who have different opinions when dealing with the sale of a business. One such example that comes to mind occurred recently, when a CPA almost blew up a business deal because he wanted to play attorney. While I encourage every business transaction to have a collaboration between the principals of the company, the attorney, the financial advisor and the CPA, I often find people have trouble staying in their own lane.
The CPA in this particular case was making recommendations to the Buyer of the company that were just completely wrong, at odds with the law and the intent of the parties. What made things worse was that the CPA jumped in at the 11th hour with wrong advice and nearly blew up the whole deal. “I’m not a lawyer, but, in similar deals I have worked on, this was how the other guy did things”, said the smugly accountant. Fortunately, the attorneys were able to convince their clients that the CPA was wrong, but had the Buyer relied on the CPA’s statements, the Buyer would have been out tens of thousands of dollars from the deposit he put down.
I never went to accounting school, and I am not a CPA. Therefore, I will always defer to the CPA when it comes to tax matters. That being said, I personally know a number of attorneys who like to play CPA as well, which can be detrimental to the client. Fortunately, some of the best deals I have worked on are ones where everyone “stayed in their lane” and relied on the experts to get things done.