Business Valuation Services: Top 10 Questions to Ask a Prospective Appraiser

Business Valuation Services: Top 10 Questions to Ask a Prospective Appraiser

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By Harold Martin, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE | Valuation and Forensic Services Partner

How do you find the right business appraiser?

One of best places to find an expert is through a referral from a trusted professional who has actually worked with the appraiser or is familiar with their reputation.  However, in the event you do not have the benefit of a direct referral, you may need to consider other sources such as member directories of valuation organizations.  Regardless of how you identify the expert, you will still need to make sure the expert possesses the necessary professional qualifications and that their expertise matches the needs of your particular assignment.

In assessing the appraiser’s qualifications, we suggest asking the following questions:

  1. Do you perform business appraisals on a full-time basis?
  2. How long have you been specializing in valuation and how many valuations have you performed?
  3. Do you have full-time staff who are trained and specialize in valuation?  If so, how many?
  4. Are you a member of the following professional organizations:
    1. American Institute of CPAs – If so, have you earned the AICPA’s Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) specialization designation?
    2. American Society of Appraisers – If so, have you earned the Accredited Senior Appraiser in Business Valuation (ASA) specialization designation?
  5. What continuing education have you taken to keep up-to-date in the field?
  6. Have you taught courses, conducted seminars, written articles, and/or published books on the subject of valuation?
  7. Will you provide a list of references?
  8. Do you have experience in conducting appraisals for the specific valuation purpose and type of business I wish to have appraised?
  9. Do you conduct your appraisal work and prepare your reports in accordance with the following standards:
    1. American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Statement on Standards for Valuation Services No. 1
    2. American Society of Appraisers’ Business Valuation Standards
    3. Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP)
  10. What do you charge for your services and how do you base your fee?

While not exhaustive, these 10 questions will serve as a basis for productive conversations with prospective appraisers.  If you are in need of business valuation services and are considering various experts, please contact your Keiter representative or the Keiter Valuation and Forensic Services team. We are here to help.

Read more of our Valuation-related articles:

Red Flags in Business Valuation Appraisals

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Impact on Divorce

“D-I-V-O-R-C-E’ (Apologies To Tammy Wynette)”

About the Authors

Greg is a manager in Keiter’s Valuation and Forensic Services Group. He performs business valuation services for purposes of mergers and acquisitions; estate, gift, and income taxes; litigation and shareholder disputes; employee stock ownership plans; reorganizations; marital dissolution; business planning; buy/sell agreements; and financial reporting. In addition, he performs litigation consulting services including damages and lost profits calculations.

More Insights from Greg P. Saunders, CPA/ABV, ASA

Harold G. Martin, Jr., is the Partner-in-Charge of Keiter’s Valuation and Forensic Services Group. He is also a member of Keiter’s Executive Committee. He has over 30 years of experience and specializes in valuation and forensic accounting, including financial investigations and litigation consulting and expert witness services. He is a frequent speaker and writer on valuation topics.  Read more of Harold’s insights on our blog.

More Insights from Harold G. Martin, Jr., CPA/ABV/CFF, ASA, CFE

The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


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