I am involved in a startup that has been around for 2 years and we have done a terrible job at keeping our books. We are now receiving some attention from potential acquirers but we need help putting together accurate financial statements. What should we do?

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Kruze Consulting Startup Q&A Author
Vanessa Kruze Founder, CPA

First, congrats on the potential acquisition!

With regards to the process, your acquirers will be asking for a lot documents in the due diligence process. More often than not, at least 3 years of financial statements (P&L, BS, and CF) and KPIs. For startups, it’s sometimes more important to show growth in non-financial areas rather than growth in revenue. Think about Instagram. They had no revenue when they were acquired but were able to show massive growth in their user base.

Can you get away with showing sloppy financials that are incomplete and don’t tie? Sure, your acquirers understand that you’re busy. But investing just a small amount of $$$ to pay a CFO or CPA to get those financials to sparkling perfection will yield a higher offer from potential acquirers.

It’s all subconscious, it gives the acquirers more confidence that what they are purchasing is of high value. Let’s say you’re purchasing a used car; are you more likely to buy the Honda that’s been freshly detailed or the Acura that has french fries on the seat and trash in the back?

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