If you want a business appraised by a qualified business analyst, you are presented with a bewildering array of choices. There are no local or federal license requirements for business appraisers.
Instead, a number of professional organizations offer education and professional certifications for appraisers. Each organization has its own set of appraiser endorsement requirements and guidelines on how its members should conduct business valuations for clients.
Just about all these organizations follow the accepted standards, most notably the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice or USPAP for short, which are published by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation.
Here are the major business valuation organizations that train and certify appraisers in North America:
American Society of Appraisers
Founded in 1952, ASA is perhaps the most recognized professional organization of business appraisers. It covers a number of disciplines including the appraisal of real estate, machinery and equipment as well as business valuation.
The accredited members receive a number of designations:
- Accredited Member or AM.
- Accredited Senior Appraiser or ASA.
- Fellow of the American Society of Appraisers, abbreviated FASA.
In addition to extensive coursework and qualifying exam, these designations require significant full-time business appraisal experience.
The Society has local chapters throughout the US and Canada.
Institute of Business Appraisers
IBA has been founded in 1978 with the purpose of educating and certifying appraisers with the primary focus on small businesses and professional practices. The Institute offers extensive business valuation training. Those completing the training and successfully passing an exam can receive these designations:
- Certified Business Appraiser, CBA.
- Business Valuation Accredited for Litigation, or BVAL.
- Fellow of the Institute of Business Appraisers, FIBA.
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
AICPA views business valuation as a specialized type of accounting services. In addition to publishing the major business appraisal standard, AICPA SSVS No 1, the Institute offers a full-fledged certification program for its CPA members who wish to practice business appraisal.
The accreditation conferred is known as Accredited in Business Valuation or ABV. It requires that the members complete several valuation related courses and successfully pass a two-day exam.
National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts
NACVA, founded in 1991, has members that are mainly CPAs and non-CPA appraisers in private practice as well as government service. Extensive training and qualification exam are offered leading to the Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) accreditation.
The Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators
The leading business appraisal organization in Canada, the Institute offers in-depth training and rigorous examination to certify its members as Chartered Business Valuators (CBV). Additional educational requirements are typically a college degree.