Mastering the Art of Add-Backs

Sep 8, 2023Business Finance

Mastering Add-Backs: Unlocking Business Acquisition Loans

Are you looking to secure a loan for a business acquisition? One essential aspect of the loan application process is properly presenting add-backs. Add-backs are adjustments made to a business’s financial statements to accurately reflect its true earning potential. Here are some dos and don’ts to help you effectively demonstrate add-backs.


Understand add-back criteria: Familiarize yourself with the guidelines regarding acceptable add-backs. These typically include non-recurring expenses, owner benefits, excessive owner compensation, and discretionary expenses that can be adjusted to reflect the business’s true cash flow.

Maintain clear and organized financial records: Ensure that your financial records are accurate, complete, and well-organized. Detailed documentation, such as profit and loss statements, tax returns, and bank statements, will support your add-back claims and strengthen your loan application.

Provide detailed explanations: Clearly explain each add-back item and its impact on the business’s financial performance. Use specific examples, supporting documents, and calculations to substantiate your claims. Transparent and well-documented explanations enhance credibility.

Present future growth opportunities: Highlight potential growth prospects and the positive impact they may have on the business’s cash flow. Emphasize add-backs related to investments in marketing, expansion plans, or new revenue streams, demonstrating the business’s true earnings potential.

My motto-if in doubt, leave it out.  Don’t addback what you can’t exactly prove.


Inflate add-backs without justification: Avoid exaggerating or inflating add-back amounts without proper documentation or valid reasoning. The lenders scrutinize add-backs closely, and unsupported claims can undermine your loan application.

Include personal expenses as add-backs: Personal expenses unrelated to the business should not be included as add-backs. The focus on business-related expenses that can be legitimately adjusted to reflect the business’s cash flow.

Overlook potential challenges: Anticipate any challenges or questions that lenders may raise regarding add-backs. Proactively address these concerns by providing additional information, supporting data, and a well-reasoned explanation for each adjustment.

Disregard lender requirements: Understand the specific requirements and preferences of your lender when it comes to add-backs. Different lenders may have their own guidelines or preferences, so tailor your presentation accordingly to meet their expectations.

Underestimate the importance of documentation: Comprehensive and well-documented evidence is crucial for add-backs. Neglecting to provide supporting documents or calculations can weaken your loan application. Take the time to gather and organize all necessary documentation.

Mastering the art of presenting add-backs is vital for securing a loan for a business acquisition.

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