Bridging the Way BayState Business Brokers blog

AI and Business Brokerage: The Opportunity and the Threat

by | Jun 6, 2024

I recently attended the International Business Brokerage Association (IBBA) national conference in Louisville, KY and a hot topic of discussion was artificial intelligence (AI) tools brokers can use to do our jobs better and faster. Obviously, this is not a surprise as you can’t read any business publication without an article on AI and its expected impact on our lives and scores of industries.

The IBBA prompted great discussion about the applications of AI in business brokerage, and challenged each of us to think about adopting various AI applications and tools in our business models going forward.

While I have carefully and successfully leveraged AI to capture summary market information, my first and most immediate thought centers on maintaining client confidentiality.

Confidentiality is essential in our commitment to our clients and is integral in our work processes as we bring a business to market. Non-disclosure agreements are standard practice before detailed information about the business we are marketing is shared with any interested parties.

The Opportunity

I see an opportunity to leverage AI to work smarter, while being prudent to evaluate the AI tools and the uses of such tools to have confidence in protecting our clients, while preparing top quality CIMs (Confidential Information Memorandum) that are accurate and complete.

The Threat

AI presents a threat to compromise the confidentiality of bringing a client’s business to market. Should high-level summary information be entered into an artificial intelligence application, there is a risk of the business being identified. This could occur outside of the business broker’s control and that is concerning.  

The second obvious threat is compromising the integrity of bringing the business to market. The CIM is the primary marketing tool of a business broker. While human error is always a risk, how does one identify where an AI tool has incorrectly compiled data that inaccurately presents information related to the business opportunity?

Conclusion

Leveraging AI in professional services is a widely discussed topic. For business brokerage, I look ahead with curiosity and an open mind, while remaining committed to protecting the confidentiality of our clients and doing our best to maintain the high quality reports that we prepare to bring our clients’ businesses to market. As AI evolves, I expect to continue to see opportunities to selectively leverage it for the benefit of our clients, but at this point, I am not jumping in the AI deep end just yet.

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