Lifecycle of a business from start-up to sale

Speech Pathologist Karla Morison was new to business ownership

After having her third child, Karla Morison felt it was time to resume her career with the idea of starting her own speech pathology clinic in 2013.

Matt Salisbury was Karla’s accountant since 2004.  Having never managed a business before, Matt was a natural choice for the advice she needed. Thus began the professional relationship between her business and Salisburys.

In just seven years, Karla was able to start her business from scratch, grow and successfully exit from it, with a sale price commensurate with the value that was created during her time as owner. Salisbury Accountants & Business Advisors held Karla’s hand while she transitioned through the different stages of her business, finally helping her to prepare for sale and smoothly handing over to the new owner earlier this year.

“I don’t have a financial background and never received any business and accounting training so I needed lots of advice,” says Karla. “The Salisbury team were literally on speed dial for my support questions when I started out.”

Juggling her young family with treating new clients, Karla didn’t have time to deal with the Tax Office and find out what was available to her, so she trusted Salisbury’s advice as gospel.

“Salisburys set me up as a Sole Trader – we talked through options and then a couple of years later I took on my first employee so got advice about payroll and contracts,” says Karla. “I needed it done quickly and Salisburys pointed me in the right direction which made it so much easier.”

Karla’s speech pathology practice grew rapidly. Karla relied on the support and advice of Salisburys to assist her navigate her way through the challenges running a small business.

“I knew that if I had professionals who could do it better, then I could spend more time on clinical matters,” says Karla. “Working with Salisburys, I became confident with spending money, how to grow the business and pay myself. I didn’t put myself last.”

At different points of growth, Karla would defer to Salisburys for advice about staffing, managing growth or how to better understand compliance issues.  By the time she sold the business, it was running really well with three full-time speech pathologists, administrative support, plus Karla working school hours.

Seven years later, Karla and her family were relocating, which prompted her decision to sell.

“Salisburys supported me through the exit from my business, working closely with Ben Gay throughout the process. They put me in contact with a great solicitor and held my hand every step along the way.”

Karla admits she is not one for detail but Ben took care of that so the value of everything could be properly established.

“The finer detail of the sale was so important; at the end of the day, I wasn’t to know what I should and shouldn’t have included as part of the transaction. Ben guided me through all of that as well as being there during negotiations to make sure I sold for the right price on my terms,” says Karla.

“By the time he prepared the Information Memorandum, all the solicitors had to do was a bit of tweaking. Ben organised me so well that we met within two weeks of the buyer’s deadline.”

Karla loved owning a business but her family is at a different stage now, so she’s happy to be a personal tax client of Salisburys.

There is still some tidying up from the business sale that needs to be done, so Karla is working with Patrick Rorke and Shea Cunningham on finalising capital gains, as well as her personal tax planning.

“Salisburys’ new tax planning format is brilliant! It gave me the ability to read through the information that was relevant to me, along with recommendations and the options to consider. It allowed me to feel more in the know by having the right terminology when we met.”

With the Government constantly changing the rules, Salisbury’s approach prompted Karla to get on the front foot with her tax planning. She genuinely feels like a long-time friend of the firm.

“They never make me feel as if I’m asking silly questions.” Says Karla. “Whether they’re offering me tea or coffee, or are there at the end of the phone, they are always friendly and helpful.  I feel like I’m being coached through every step.”

“Their fees are also reasonable and I feel comfortable enough to offer them feedback, which they’re open to receiving. I think that’s important in a professional relationship.”

“I had a cracking business, but there would have been no spark without Salisbury Accountants,” Karla added.

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