What Documents Do I Need to Sell My Business?

When you’re ready to consider selling your business, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get your documents in order. It can seem like a blizzard of paperwork, but it’s all absolutely necessary. Buyers want to know exactly what they’re getting, and you have a legal obligation to be completely transparent with them. But if it feels overwhelming, a business broker like CGK Business Sales in Houston (or any of our offices nationwide) can help you throughout the whole process. To get you started, here are some key documents you’ll need along the way.

What Documents Do I Need to Show Potential Buyers?

Potential buyers will want to know right off the bat if they’re interested in your business or not. You have to prepare in advance and provide high-level financial documents that give them an indication of your success without giving away too much proprietary information. More details will come later when the buyer is qualified and you are potentially heading toward a sale.

In the early stages, here are the five main documents you should be prepared to show potential buyers.

YTD Income Statement

The year to date (YTD) income statement shows your revenues, costs of goods sold (COGS), expenses, and of course operating profits and net profits. This is the key document for buyers to assess your profitability and business value.

YTD Balance Sheet

A year to date (YTD) balance sheet breaks down your assets (like money owed to you, equipment owned, goodwill) and liabilities (such as debts, loans, or liens). It’s a vital resource for seeing the plusses and minuses facing the business.

YTD Cash Flow Statement

A cash flow statement is a breakdown of all the money flowing into and out of the business. A potential buyer can see investing, operating, and financing cash flow, as well as how much working capital the business has to work with every month. That’s really what they want to know.

Tax Returns For the Last 3 Years

Simply put, buyers want to confirm you’ve filed and paid taxes for the business. The revenue, income, and tax payment numbers should also align with the other financial statements you’ve given them. If they do, it’s good confirmation, and if they don’t, they’ll have big questions.

Summary Book of Your Business

Take all the above information and create a deal summary deck or book. You can do this yourself, or your business broker can help you. Summarize the business and explain any quirks or particularly advantageous circumstances that will attract buyers. Include anything that makes your business look great.

What Documents Should I Show Buyers Who Start Due Diligence?

When you have a qualified buyer that is ready to go to the due diligence stage, you’ll go deeper into your books. As long as the buyer has signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), you should have no fear providing this sensitive information. The due diligence documents required will vary for each buyer, but there are some important documents you should always have ready:

  • Proof of business ownership
  • Business licenses
  • Payroll summaries for 1 year
  • Outstanding accounts payable
  • Outstanding accounts receivable
  • Current loan documentation
  • Lease contracts
  • Sales contracts
  • Details of all chargebacks or “Owner’s Salary” in your financials
  • 3 years of profit and loss statements
  • 3 years of cash flow statements
  • 3 years of balance sheets

You may not have all of these documents available during the sale process. If that’s true, then you should be prepared to give a reason why to any potential buyers.


As you can see, the documents required to sell a business is extensive. However, with expert assistance from CGK Business Sales, it’s very doable. You need experienced partners with extensive business contacts and an impeccable attention to detail. Contact us today to start your confidential conversation.



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