Longtime local bookkeeping firm acquired by West End peer

Dan Steiner, left, with Kelly Walker of Chocolates by Kelly. (BizSense file photo)

Dan Steiner, left, with Kelly Walker of Chocolates by Kelly. (BizSense file photo)

A year after buying a piece of a local chocolate maker, Dan Steiner is in deal-making mode again, this time acquiring a competitor of his bookkeeping company.

His Steiner Business Solutions closed last week on the acquisition of Net30, a longtime local firm that offers similar services and serves similar clients. The deal nearly doubles the size of Steiner’s company.

The transaction was finalized Friday. Terms were not disclosed.

Steiner, who started his firm in 2006, said the deal capitalizes on a trend in the bookkeeping industry of retirement-age owners looking for an exit strategy.

“It fits right in my acquisition strategy,” Steiner said. “There’s going to be a lot of consolidation in my industry and I’m hoping to take advantage of that.”

Adding Net30 helps Steiner grow his client list for the firm’s core bookkeeping services, and brings in Net30’s large-bill-paying book of business. He’ll also look to offer SBS’ other services, such as fractional CFO and tax preparation, to Net30 clients.

Steiner said he also was attracted to Net30’s brand, which will continue to be used.

“The brand carries some weight. It’s been around 30 years,” he said.

Net30’s 10 employees will join Steiner’s roster of five. That includes Rob Goodall, who owned Net30 with his father Buzz.

The elder Goodall founded Net30 in Richmond about 30 years ago. A Philadelphia native, Buzz said he came to Richmond with the cable TV industry in the late ’70s, and his desire to retire was the main driver of his deal with Steiner.

“I’m 76 and I’m trying to cut back on some of my activities,” said Goodall, who now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

Net30, with the help of Local business brokerage Light & Raphael, fielded offers from several suitors, Goodall said, but Steiner was the best fit.

“He’s been a competitor, to some extent, of ours for some time,” Goodall said. “We knew him and Dan was the closest to what we have built. What we built was a business that’s very personal.

“Dan liked what he saw and was impressed with our staff and our client list.”

Goodall said he also wanted to ensure Net30’s employees had a chance to stay on.

“When I told them we were selling the company, I felt like I did when I gave my daughter away when she got married – I was very emotional about it,” Goodall said.

Steiner soon will relocate Net30’s employees from their office on Staples Mill Road to his main office in the West End at 8814 Fargo Road. Steiner also has a small office in the Gather coworking space in Scott’s Addition.

A Hermitage High School and JMU grad, Steiner made his first acquisition of another accounting practice in 2012, with a couple smaller deals since then. Last year he bought a stake of local sweets maker Chocolates By Kelly, which later relocated from Manchester to a new shop downtown on Broad Street.

In addition to aging owners, Steiner said he sees another trend in the industry that may fuel more deals.

“There is also a glut of ‘solopreneurs’ in the market that have a hard time scaling, so we anticipate many of those smaller businesses either folding up or becoming part of our acquisition strategy.”

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