Whenever you are thinking about buying a business (or selling a business) it is expected that you will perform your due diligence before the sale is final to help decide whether or not the purchase is a good idea by verifying the material facts related to the transaction. This post discussing financial due diligence will be the first in a series discussing the different aspects of due diligence that should be performed prior to finalizing a transaction.

The idea behind financial due diligence is to help determine the value of the company you are buying by reviewing their financial documents. These financial documents should be audited independently to determine their accuracy.

  • Financial statements for the past few years
  • Income statements for the past few years
  • Tax returns for the past few years
  • Balance Sheets for the past few years
  • Description and valuation of significant assets (including real estate and accompanying title and tax information, as well as information of depreciation schedule)
  • Any current budgets, revenue projections, or other similar documents
  • Any loan or other promissory note documentation (as well as any security interests against the business or its assets)

You want to be sure that nothing in these documents is questionable or raises any concerns about the current and future value of the company or assets that you are purchasing. You want to be sure that you have all the right information so that you can negotiate in a fair and informed way. If the other party is unable to produce these documents, that may raise a red flag as well, and you will want to be sure that you raise these issues with your professional advisors (attorney, accountant, etc.) to determine what the next course of action should be.

Big purchases can be very emotional, whether it is buying a home or a car, it can be easy to get emotionally attached to the prospective purchase. However, you don’t want to let yourself get so caught up in the emotional excitement of taking over a business that you lose site that this is a business transaction. You need to independently verify that everything is what the current owners say it is with regard to the business you are thinking about buying.

If you need assistance with legal help and/or document drafting for your business sale, please contact the Law Office of E.C. Lewis, P.C., home of your Denver Business Attorney, Elizabeth Lewis, at 720-258-6647 or email her at elizabeth.lewis@eclewis.com.