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4. The Institute of Business Appraisers offers several designations including Certified Business Appraiser (CBA) that require passing an exam, and varying degrees of BV education and experience. Their online member directory can be accessed at www.go-iba.org/directory.asp.
Just like types of professionals, no one BV credential is inherently better than others. Having a BV designation is not a guarantee of competency, but it does demonstrate that professional has met minimum requirements for that credential. Conversely, absence of one doesn’t prove incompetence. It does raise question of why professional does not have one. Many BV professionals have multiple designations. That’s great, but one BV credential is enough.
Searching member directories of these organizations is best way to find BV professionals near you. Business Valuations & Strategies maintains links to all four directories in one convenient location at www.bus-val-strat.com/Search BV Professional.htm.
Business Valuation Experience
The first question many business owners ask a BV professional is whether they ever valued a business like theirs. Although that is a good question, it misses point. Regular and recent BV experience is much more important than specific industry experience. BV procedures are generally same regardless of industry or type of valuation. BV professionals are good at research and have many excellent resources to learn ins and outs of most industries.
Ask to see samples of their business valuation reports. You may not understand some of real technical stuff, but you should be able to make sense of what was done and why. The valuation result or conclusion should also make sense to you. The best BV professionals in world are worthless if they can’t write a report that can be understood by non-financial people.
Hopefully you have found more than one qualified BV professional to choose from. Each professional should be personally interviewed and questioned about fees and turnaround time. After interview select most qualified professional that meets rest of your criteria. A checklist or scorecard that lists each important factor and rates each professional on every factor can help make process less confusing and more logical.
Looking for a qualified professional to do a business valuation is not easy. If you take some time, do some research and approach it systematically, you will find a qualified professional that is right for you.
David E. Coffman is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) and a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). He authored the “Guide to Selecting the Right Professional to Value Your Business” to help small business owners through this process. The Guide is available at http://select-bv-prof.com.