Add Backs: Defining Adjusted Net Income When Buying A Small Business


Adjusted Net Income Add Backs Analysis

The prospective buyer of an auto repair shop for sale in Central California noticed, while conducting due-diligence, that an office assistant was listed on the payroll. But he'd visited the business as a customer and had never seen anyone working in the office.

When inquiring about this, he learned that a "salary" of $1,500 per month was being paid to the seller's sister-in-law, and that she was listed as an office assistant, but didn't actually work at the company.

That's an "add-back" and it should be included with net income the seller said.

The buyer was troubled by this discovery. Also confusing was the seller's assertion that auto expenses, such as gas and insurance charged off as business costs, should be added back to profits.

These are just two examples of the many questions and sources of confusions that can surface when trying to understand the actual costs involved with operation of a business. The confusion comes about because many, if not most sellers attempt to show as little income as possible to reduce the taxes that have to be paid. Then, when it's time to sell, the business owner has the opposite objective, wanting to show as much earnings as possible to justify the price being asked for the business.

The typical way of resolving this dilemma is for the seller to point out the costs charged off to the business but not really necessary to operate.

These explanations, however, sometimes raise more questions than they answer.

When the buyer who was investigating the auto repair business for sale looked into what the seller was saying, he learned that although there was no one physically present in the office during business hours, it was necessary to have someone handling office work. The sister in law came in on evenings or weekends to balance the company check book, verify that all parts ordered were charged against repair orders, to compare vendor statements with individual invoices, handle payroll and sales tax responsibilities and take care of related duties.

And while it was true that the seller was charging the business for his personal auto expenses, it also was the fact that the car was used for needed business activities such as picking up parts and taking customers to their home or office.

A well prepared adjusted profit and loss statement anticipates buyer questions and clearly defines what expenses on the operating statement are, and what are not necessary for efficient management of the business. But not every seller or business broker knows how to provide that information in a way that's easy to understand. And not everyone is willing to engage in full and complete disclosure.

It's up to the careful buyer to question every item on the income and expense statement. And to ask questions such as:

- Is each itemized expense necessary in order to operate the business properly?

- Is the listed total for each item the actual expense, or is the real cost lower, or higher than what has been entered in the books?

- What was the ratio of the amount in each expense item to the total of all expenses for the last complete year?  How does that figure compare to the percentages in prior years? If there is a substantial change in any single category, what is the reason?

The smart business buyer does not accept, without question, the figures listed in the P&L (or tax returns) and financials of a company being considered, but does some investigating to learn what the figures actually represent.

Some typical "add-backs" utilized frequently to compute adjusted net income/sellers discretionary cash/cash flow include:

- Owner's Annual Salary
- Annual Net Income
- Owners Pension
- Owners Health Insurance Premium
- Amortization
- Depreciation
- Interest Expense (typical are loans that will be paid off when the business is acquired)
- Rent/Mortgage Payment (if the business is being acquired with an SBA Loan)
- One Time Business Expense (an annual expense the new owner will not have in the future)
- Salary Expense Of Family Members (who don't actually work at the business)

To see what other professionals have to say about Adjusted Net Income, SDE (Sellers Discretionary Cash) and Cash Flow go to the BizBen Glossary definition of Adjusted Net Income and read some great contributions and examples!

Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, Business Purchase Financing, Business Valuation Issues, Deal And Escrow Issues, How To Buy A Business, How To Sell A Business, Small Business Financing

Contributor:

Peter Siegel, MBA
Areas Served: All Of California
Phone:  925-785-3118 Cell, 925-785-3118 Text
Founder Of BizBen.com (since 1994). I am the Lead Advisor for the ProSell, ProBuy, & ProIntermediary Programs. I consult daily with buyers, sellers, and brokers daily about buying and selling California small to mid-sized businesses. Call 925-785-3118.

Comments Regarding This Blog Post


Buyers and sellers should be aware of the many items that are generally included as SDE-calculation "add-backs". Those typically recognized without question by SBA lenders are: depreciation and amortization, business interest, salary for one owner-manager, and payroll taxes for that owner-manager.

Then there are many other potential adjustments, such as: salaries to non-working family members, lease payments for the owner's benefit, owner's personal auto expenses (lease, insurance, gas, repairs, etc.), charitable donations, reduction or addition to adjust rent paid to owner(s) to fair market value, owner's personal insurance (life, health, disability), retirement plan contributions, non-business meals and entertainment, non-business travel, non-business telephone and internet, and more.

And, buyers and sellers should both note that it works both ways. For example, if the owner-manager has a family member working in the business who is receiving no pay, or less-than-fair-market-value pay, then the amount a new owner will have to pay that replacement employee needs to be deducted from the SDE.

A proper calculation of SDE is vital to both seller and buyer. For example, a business showing a "profit" of $40,000 could easily have an actual SDE of $120,000; that's a huge difference in business value.An experienced business broker is the best resource for a thorough analysis of add-backs and SDE; and, the buyer's CPA should verify everything during due diligence.






  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Shalonda Chappel: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California

Escrow services to brokers/agents, sellers, & buyers. Established 43 years. Extraordinary service. Experienced with handling difficult transactions. One stop for all your escrow needs: Bulk sales, lien searches, UCC searches, liquor license transfers, publishing & recording services. 951-808-3972.

William F. Ziprick, Attorney: Legal Services For Buyers And Sellers

Through creative problem solving, attention to detail, accessibility, & understanding that unnecessary delay is often a deal killer, I work closely with my clients and other professionals to consistently achieve a high rate of closings. Office: 909-255-8353, Cell: 509-951-7230.

Helen Yoo, New Century Escrow - Escrow Services In Southern California

New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.

Diane Boudreau-Tschetter: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - CA

California Business Escrow, Inc. is a full service independent escrow company serving all of California and has expertise in a wide range of escrows. Our team prides itself on providing an exceptional escrow experience. For more info phone Diane Boudreau-Tschetter at 888-383-3331 or 209-838-1100.

Elizabeth McGovern: Escrow Services - San Francisco Bay Area

McGovern Escrow Services, Inc., is a leading independent escrow company. We are a trusted partner with our clients, assisting them through the tangled bulk sale & liquor license transfer process. We provide attentive, quality & innovative customer service. Phone Elizabeth McGovern at 415-735-3645.

Brad Steinberg, Business Broker: Laundromat Specialist

PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.

Janet Carrera: Escrow & Bulk Sale Service - SF Bay Area

Redwood Escrow Services, Inc. is a full service, licensed independent escrow company. We are EAFC Fidelity bonded, fully insured & licensed with the Department of Corporations. Committed to offering our clients the most comprehensive variety of escrow services available. Phone Janet at 510-247-0741.


  Related Articles, Events, Blog Posts, Discussions, Videos, Interviews
Buy A Business Or Start From Scratch? 5 Key Differences For Business Buyers

Some buyers believe it's better to start a business from scratch rather than buy an existing enterprise. While this may be good advice in some cases, usually it's not the best strategy. Here are five tips to help a buyer make the right decision from from Peter Siegel, MBA (BizBen Director).

Top 100 List: This Week's Top Motivated Business Buyers & Their Requests!

If you're trying to sell a business - check out this week's top 100 business buyers - one of these buyers may be looking to buy your type and location of business! This list is updated weekly - make sure you check it frequently! Are you searching to buy - get on this list and reach seller direct!

Why Isn't My Business Selling? 6 Great Questions To Ask Yourself For Answers

It can take months, sometimes longer to sell a small business. Here are 6 questions from Peter Siegel, MBA (Business Purchase Financing Expert, ProSell Program Advisor with BizBen) at 925-785-3118 to ask yourself to help you determine why your small to mid-sized California business isn't selling.

Confidentiality: Why Keeping A Deal Quiet Is Important To Sellers And Buyers

Owners should keep the fact that they want to sell their small business confidential. Before releasing information to prospective buyers, buyers should commit to confidentiality in writing & should understand why it is important. Peter Siegel, MBA a ProBuy and ProSell Advisor with BizBen explains.

Absentee Run Small Businesses - Is That Really A Possibility For Buyers?

Is buying a absentee run small business really a possibility? Peter Siegel (BizBen ProBuy Director) gets asked this question a lot in his consulting sessions with business buyers. Read more about what other Advisors and Intermediaries feel about this topic on this popular BizBen Discussion!

I am Buying A Business: Should I Buy The Property As Well? A Good Decision?

There are advantages and disadvantages to owning commercial property. Here are a few questions to ask when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy the property along with the business. Peter Siegel, MBA with the BizBen ProSell Program reviews this issue with potential sellers and intermediaries.

Who Really Represents The Business Buyer In A Deal? Does Dual Agency Work?

Who really represents the buyer? The selling broker or agent through dual agency? Many brokers and agents weigh in on this Discussion on BizBen. Bottom line is all business buyers need to know who really represents them and has their best interest at heart when seeking and negotiating on deals.

Find Out Why 80% Of California Business Buyers Never Find And Buy A Business

First the dreaded statistic: 80% of all CA business buyers looking to buy a business in California never end up doing so! Peter Siegel, MBA BizBen.com Founder & ProBuy Director) covers successful tactics & strategies all business buyers of California small to mid-sized businesses should utilize now.


Escrow Services Diane Boudreau-Tschetter
Harry Sidhu SF Bay Area
SF Bay Area Business Broker Manjit Singh
Health Care Broker Ralph Santos
Facebook
Twitter
Linkedin
Vlogs and Podcasts
Business For Sale California Stats
Instant Email Alerts On BizBen
California Educational Events Buying And Selling Businesses
BizBen Blogs And Articles
BizBen ProBuy Program

BizBen - Where California Deals Get Done! 888-212-4747
7172 Regional Street #364 · Dublin, CA. 94568
BizBen · Copyright © 1994 - 2020, All Rights Reserved



Clost Login


Please confirm your registration by clicking the link we've sent to .

If you can't see it, please check your junk mail folder.

If you have any problems registering, or need assistance with your new BizBen User Account please phone BizBen Customer Support at 888-212-4747.



First Name:*
Last Name:*
Email Address:*
Confirm Email:*
Create Password:*
Confirm Password:*
Phone:
(   
 


You Are A:
Individual
 
Intermediary
 

Email Address:
Password:
 

500 New & Refreshed Detailed Postings Daily
Over 2500 Resources Available On BizBen
Since 1994. Where California Deals Get Done!
Confidentiality: Why Keeping A Deal Quiet Is Important To Sellers And Bu...
Read More News
What Should I Do If Other Buyers Are Trying To Buy The Same Business As ...
Read More News