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Valuable Answers to Your Business Valuation Questions

20 Apr

How do I find an appraiser?

Posted in General valuation topics on 20.04.09

There are many people qualified to value a business.  A number of professional societies offer certifications to professionals who meet the organization’s criteria.  In selecting an appraiser, you want to understand the differences between the certifications as well as the necessary skills to value a business.

The following organizations offer valuation designations:

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants offers the ABV (
  • American Society of Appraisers offers the ASA (
  • Institute of Business Appraisers offers the CBA (
  • National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) offers the CVA and the AVA (

Each of the designations demonstrates that an individual has completed certain educational requirements, experience requirement and demonstrated some level of competency through testing and/or submitting sample reports.   You can visit each organization’s website for a list of the requirements for certification.  Additionally, the different groups also have searchable directories of credentialed appraisers.

However, it is important to understand an appraiser’s actual experience, not just the letters after their name.  Some good questions to ask a prospective appraiser are:

  • How much of your practice is devoted to business valuation? While it is not necessary that a practitioner do business appraisal work full-time, it is necessary that he or she devote enough time to the work to be proficient.  Someone that does two or three valuations a year may not be the appraiser that you are looking for.
  • What type of continuing education have you completed? There are many courses and conferences available to appraisers.  You want an appraiser who regularly participates in continuing education.  An appraiser who attends different courses and conferences each year is more likely to know the current developments in the industry, compared to someone who gets all of his or her hours in once every three years by attending a single conference.
  • What type of valuations have you worked on in the past? Not all valuations are the same.  Someone who has only done appraisals for divorce litigation may not be the best fit for a client who needs an valuation for estate purposes. It is also important that you know what type of appraisal you need.
  • Will you be the one responsible for valuing my business? You want to know who will be doing the work to appraise your business.  Some firms use staff or outsource some of the work.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  Depending upon the purpose of the report, you may want to speak to the person actually doing the work to make sure that you are comfortable with his or her credentials and experience.
  • What standards do you comply with? Each of the organizations mentioned above have appraisal standards which its members agree to comply with.  If your appraiser is a CPA, he or she may be required to comply with the AICPA business valuation standards.

These are some of the things to consider in selecting an appraiser.  If you have additional questions, please post a question.

 © 2009 Florida Business Valuation Group



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2 comments on this topic

  1. Howard A. Lewis says:

    Nice article, marcie.