Buying A Business? How To Consider COVID “Slumps And Bumps”

In the time before the pandemic, business buyers would typically request 3 years of tax returns when considering a business. If you’re looking at businesses in 2024, those three years of records land you squarely in the throws of the pandemic – where many businesses struggled or faltered and a few pivot-capable businesses did very well. 


How do you make heads or tails of numbers that can show a huge slump or a huge bump? Maybe don’t consider those numbers as hugely significant. 



If you do ignore the COVID numbers, you’ll have company. According to the IBBA Market Pulse Q1 Executive SummaryQ1 2024 survey results indicate that the vast majority of M&A advisors believe buyers are largely disregarding the financial impact, whether positive or negative, that COVID-19 had on acquisition targets. A combined 80% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that buyers are mostly ignoring any ‘COVID slump’ or ‘COVID bump’ when assessing a company’s financials.”


This tendency to ignore the pandemic years makes sense when you consider that the businesses that made it through this period were doing something right, and the ones who saw a huge spike in profits because of something they did related to COVID have likely seen those metrics fall as the pandemic became less of a concern. 


What can you do then when you look at the track record of a business in the post-pandemic market? Ask for more years of records. Many buyers now ask for 2019 to today, or even the last ten years of tax returns. This over-arching view of a longer period of time will likely give you a better sense of how this business fared before and after the shut downs and mayhem – giving you a better perspective.


Are you looking at businesses and want to know more about how to interpret the numbers during the pandemic? Do you have questions about what time period of records you should ask for? Ask us! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments here and we would be happy to help.




Michael Monnot


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Michael Monnot


5111-E Ocean Blvd
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Michael Monnot


9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202


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