Health Law Highlights

Up and Up and Up: Accounting for Supply Cost Inflation in Due Diligence

From VMG Health, by Johnny Zizzi, CPA, and Melissa Hoelting, CPA:

  • Inflation-Adjusted Financial Analysis: In periods of high inflation, traditional financial metrics may not accurately depict a company’s performance. It is essential to adjust financial analysis for inflation, especially in the healthcare sector where supply costs have been significantly rising. Businesses must assess their ability to maintain profitability and manage costs in the face of these increases.
  • Cash to Accrual Impacts: Converting financial statements from cash to accrual accounting can significantly impact the quality of earnings, particularly when dealing with supply cost inflation. This process becomes more complex with rising costs, necessitating a financial due diligence team to ensure accurate and comprehensive analysis.
  • Robust Forecasting and Scenario Analysis: Given the uncertainties around inflation and supply chain disruptions, robust forecasting and scenario analysis are crucial for businesses to proactively manage the financial impact of rising costs. This approach can help companies adjust pricing strategies, negotiate better contracts, and implement cost-cutting measures to maintain profitability.
  • Net Working Capital Analysis: High inflation impacts a company’s balance sheet, affecting both assets and liabilities. Advisors must align the timing of cash flows associated with assets and liabilities to mitigate liquidity risks stemming from supply cost inflation. Transactions may shift towards a shorter lookback period to set the price/earnings-to-growth (PEG) in times of rising prices.
  • Conclusion: In the dynamic world of healthcare M&A, understanding historical spend normalization, cash-to-accrual conversions, and the impact of supply cost inflation is critical. The rise in inflation places a significant level of complexity on financial due diligence, highlighting the need for inflation-adjusted financial analysis, transition from cash to accrual accounting, robust forecasting, and vigilant net working capital management.