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Selling a Business Due Diligence Checklist

Due Diligence Checklist for Selling a Business
A due diligence checklist is an in-depth look at the extensive documentation, research and planning that is necessary to prepare a business for sale. Buyers are encouraged to follow this checklist to analyze every important detail of the company. Sellers should follow this checklist to determine if they meet all of the conditions for sale.
What Questions & Tasks Does the Selling a Business Due Diligence Checklist Include

Legal Issues

ITEMS IN legal issues Due Diligence INCLUDE:
  • Review all business licenses, contracts and agreements
  • Review settled, pending and potential litigation
  • Review the company's rules, regulations and compliance plans
  • Look over budget reports and business plans
  • Verify that the seller has obtained all of the necessary business permits and licenses


  • Review the complete documentation of the company's current and fixed assets from the past five years
  • Review all accounting records, including income, balance and cash flow statements
  • Verify the accuracy of all financial statements
  • Obtain a list of all business plants, property and equipment
  • Review stock plans and agreements
  • Check the validity of accounts receivable
  • Verify the validity of all intellectual properties
  • Review past, current and potential copyright / infringement claims
  • Evaluate the efficiency of information security and technology systems


  • Review the full terms and conditions of property usage
  • Obtain and review property leases
  • Collect information on company’s COBRA.
  • Conduct an inspection of all lands and properties
  • Prepare an environmental audit of the business land and property
  • Make inspections of electrical, structural, mechanical and plumbing systems of buildings
  • Evaluate the cost and efficiency of warehouse and production facilities in meeting customer demands
  • Determine the level of competitiveness with similar facilities
  • Inquire into plans for opening or closing facilities

Suppliers / Manufacturing

ITEMS IN supliers and manufacturing DUE DILIGENCE INCLUDE:
  • Discuss current and potential contracts with suppliers
  • Discuss current and potential contracts with manufacturers
  • Determine the storage sites of raw materials
  • Determine the methods of disposal for hazardous and non-hazardous waste
  • Review the compliance plans with local, state and national environmental laws
  • Determine the level of compliance with import / export laws
  • Discuss current and potential contracts with suppliers
  • Discuss current and potential contracts with manufacturers

Products / Inventory

ITEMS IN products / inventory DUE DILIGENCE INCLUDE:
  • Examine all products based on age, condition, design and functions
  • Review product plans currently in development
  • Review product warranties
  • Arrange to purchase the seller's closing inventory item by item
  • Conduct a physical audit of closing inventory


  • Verify that the seller has filed all tax returns and paid all past and current taxes
  • Review tax returns, audits, liens and disputes from the past five years
  • Evaluate current and future changes in tax laws
  • Determine current and future tax liabilities
  • Obtain a list of past and existing creditors with the names, dates, interest charges, total amounts borrowed and due
  • Review all loan and credit agreements
  • Review active insurance contracts and policies
  • Evaluate past, current and potential insurance claims

Sales and marketing

  • Evaluate the level of competition with local, statewide and national competitors
  • Evaluate future research and development plans
  • Evaluate future industry growth and evolving marketplace trends
  • Review fluctuations in interest, inflation and economic growth
  • Review customer relationship management policies, such warranties, cancellation agreements, etc
  • Review sales contract and agreement forms
  • Evaluate the efficiency of the sales and marketing professionals
  • Determine the sales reports of all products and services


  • Obtain a list of all managers / supervisors
  • Evaluate their positions and levels of experience within the company
  • Check all business transactions between managers and third parties for fairness and accuracy

Human resources

  • Obtain a list of current employees and/or independent contractors
  • Obtain employee rules of conduct handbooks and safety policies
  • Determine which employees should stay with the company
  • Review past employee disputes and future problems
  • Review employee and/or independent contractor agreements
  • Review employee health insurance and retirement plans
  • Obtain a list of employee grievances and complaints
  • Evaluate policies about labor unions
  • Check for pending labor disputes or lawsuits
  • Review workplace accidents and/or worker's compensation claims in the past five years
  • Obtain documents and/or videos of new hire orientation and training sessions
  • Review policies about sick days, paid holidays, paid vacations and overtime pay
  • Review policies about bonuses, incentives, commissions and deferred compensation
  • Evaluate emergency training and recovery plans

Sale of business

  • Review conditions precedent to buyer's obligations
  • Review conditions precedent to seller's obligations
  • Arrange the transfer of ownership of all assets and documentation to buyer
  • Create and review validity of Business of Sale Assets agreement with seller
  • Review that all terms and conditions are met in agreement
  • Verify consent of all third parties involved in the agreement
  • Verify that tangible assets are insured and in good working condition
  • Verify that the seller is not violating the law or has any pending lawsuits
  • Make payments for the purchases of assets
  • Verify receipt of assets and documentation at closing of sale
Seller Documents Needed to Sell Your Business

Legal documents

  • Business lease
  • Business plan
  • Privacy policy
  • Terms and conditions agreement
  • Buy-sell agreement
  • Power of attorney

Permits and Licenses 

  • Local / state / federal business licenses
    • Occupational license
    • Liquor license
  • Building permits
  • Zoning and land use permits
  • Tax registration
  • Buy-sell agreement
  • Power of attorney

Sale of business

  • Business purchase agreement
  • Joint venture or partnership agreement
  • Assignment of partnership agreement
  • Trademark assignment agreement

Accounting records

  • Balance sheets - reports on a company's assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity at a given point in time
    • Tangible assets
      • Current assets: Items that are consumed or converted into cash by the end of a regular operating cycle
        • Cash and equivalencies
        • Currencies, cash accounts, cash advances, negotiable instruments, short-term trade investments
        • Supplies
        • Purchase orders
        • Inventory
        • Manufacturing and supply agreements
        • Accounts receivable
        • Prepaid liabilities
        • Marketable securities
        • Stocks
        • Bonds
      • Fixed or long-term assets: Assets that cannot be easily converted into cash
        • Land
        • Real estate / Property
          • Deeds
          • Construction contract agreement
          • Property management agreements
          • Manufacturing and supply agreements
          • Property inspection reports
        • Equipment
          • Computers, machinery
            • Purchase receipts / Bills of sale
            • Leases
          • Furniture
          • Vehicles
            • Car bill of sale
            • Titles
        • Marketable securities
        • Stocks
        • Bonds
    • Intangible assets: Nonphysical items of value
      • Goodwill
      • Intellectual property - Licensing agreements
        • Brand
        • Patients
        • Copyrights
        • Trademarks
        • Trade names
        • Websites/blogs
        • Software/computer programs
  • Current liabilities: Short-term obligations held for one fiscal year or operating cycle
    • Wages / salaries
    • Taxes
      • Tax returns
    • Accounts payable
    • Unearned revenue
  • Fixed or long-term liabilities: Long-term obligations held for longer than one year
    • Leases
    • Stocks and bonds
      • Stock certificates
      • Stock purchase agreements
    • Loans
    • Mortgages
    • Pensions
    • Notes payable
    • Product warranties
Owner's Equity (Total assets minus total liabilities)
  • Equity statements: A statement of changes in equity
    • Profits or expenses for the year
    • Owner's investments
    • Owner's withdrawals
    • Other comprehensive income
    • Retained earnings
    • Treasury shares
    • Purchases of shares
    • Foreign exchange reserves
  • Income statements: Overview of the company's income, profits and expenses during an operating cycle
  • Bank statements: Statements of checking and savings accounts at banks
  • Cash flow statements: Overview of changes in the company's cash flow
  • Cash flow from operations
    • Raw materials
    • Merchandise purchases
    • Inventory
    • Advertising
    • Shipping
    • Interest payments
  • Cash flow from investing
    • Sales or purchases of various assets
    • Purchase orders
    • Loans
    • Loan agreements
    • Promissory notes
    • Mergers and acquisitions payments
  • Cash flow from financing
    • Dividends
    • Sale or repurchase of shares
Operating business
  • Profits
    • Sales invoices
    • Sales reports
  • Expenses
    • Costs of goods sold
    • Labor
    • Materials
    • Overhead costs
    • Selling expenses
      • Salaries and commissions
      • Advertising expenses
      • Shipping expenses
      • Depreciation of sales equipment and buildings
    • General and administrative expenses
      • Professionals' salaries
      • Legal expenses
      • Rent and utilities
        • Rental agreements
      • Supplies
      • Insurance
        • Insurance contracts and policies
    • Depreciation of workplace equipment and buildings
      • Depreciation expenses
    • Research and development expenses
Non-operating business
  • Other profits: Additional revenue gained from secondary business activities
  • Other expenses: Additional expenses accrued from secondary business activities
  • Finance costs: Costs of doing business with creditors
    • Interest expenses
  • Income tax expenses:
    • Current taxes payable
    • Deferred taxes payable
  • Discontinued operations: Fixed assets held for sale but not consumed by the business
  • Annual reports: Yearly reports of the company's activities and progress
  • Audit reports
    • Internal audits
    • Inspections
    • Financial forecasts
    • Due diligence
    • Environmental audits
    • Information security audits
    • Fraud audits
    • Audit of financial statements
  • Human Resources
    • Employment contract
    • Non-disclosure/confidentiality agreements
    • Non-compete agreements
    • Independent contractor agreement
    • Leave of absence agreement
    • Benefits plans
    • Retirement / 401(k) plans
    • Bonus / incentive agreements

Can I change requests in this checklist or add new ones?

Every selling a business due diligence process is different. Downloaders are urged to make these checklists their own by changing the providing information to better fit their needs.

Does this questionnaire provide all the necessary due diligence information?

This selling a business due diligence questionnaire was created by and for M&A professionals and includes a comprehensive starting point for any diligence process. Every deal is different, however, and may require additional requests or diligence areas.
Easily Collect Data Using this Due Diligence Template for Selling a Business in DealRoom
This selling a business due diligence template can be easily downloaded and utilized as just the Excel sheet. However, it is most effective when paired with DealRoom’s dynamic due diligence software. We offer a secure space to conveniently request, collect, and house data. Additionally, DealRoom offers analytics, security features, and customized help to streamline the process. We are confident that with DealRoom you can close deals up to 40% faster.
  • Download the due diligence template from DealRoom’s website
  • Open a room within DealRoom
  • Go to the Requests tab and select “import”
  • Import the downloaded template

The Requests tab is automatically populated with the requests from the due diligence template. Users can begin assigning, adding to, and completing due diligence requests.

Use DealRoom’s Premade Templates

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The template is already filled out and in the correct format
Import into the room in less than a minute
The room is automatically populated and organized
Immediately begin conducting due diligence tasks