If you are interested in getting a high quality business appraisal but want the flexibility of choosing how it is to be done, then the recent AICPA SSVS No 1 standard is a good starting point.
In addition to offering you a number of guidelines on how to value a business or professional practice, the standard offers several ways to get the job done. Not all business appraisals need to be prepared using all the available valuation methods and procedures. In some cases, such as a management advisory for business expansion or outside financing, business owners can opt for a simplified format that includes specific valuation methods while keeping the resulting valuation report concise and easily accessible for laypeople.
Two ways to value a business under AICPA SSVS No 1 Standard
The AICPA SSVS No 1 standard helps you make such decisions at the outset. There are two main formats you can choose from:
- valuation engagement.
- calculation engagement.
Valuation engagement: all decisions made by the appraiser
The valuation engagement takes place when the professional adviser is in charge of selecting all the valuation methods and procedures deemed appropriate. The client does not have a say in which ones are picked or why. The appraiser prepares the valuation and reports the conclusions in a formal business appraisal report that is then presented to the client. The report is usually lengthy and includes an explanation of the choices the appraiser has made.
Calculation engagement: appraiser and client work as a decision making team
Things are different if you decide to follow the calculation engagement framework. Here, the appraiser and the client agree on a certain number of methods to calculate the company value. What these choices are and why they have been made can be put into the agreement between the client and the appraiser. This gives the client an idea of what to expect and limits the scope and cost of the work.
In a sense, the client and appraiser work as a team to customize the business valuation. For example, you may feel that your own knowledge of the market is sufficiently deep to be accepted as a given. No need to expend the appraiser time on extensive market research. Here a full scope valuation may be an overkill. You can settle for a concise analysis of business value based on your knowledge of the market that the appraiser takes as an input.
This flexibility in choosing the best way to go about your business valuation is a major boon to both the client and the appraiser. With key points agreed on up front, you know what to expect. The appraiser has fewer choices to make especially in the areas where the client’s knowledge is much more extensive.
You can expect the time and cost of preparing a calculation engagement appraisal to be considerably lower than what a full scope valuation would call for.
Report your business valuation as a single number or a range of values
Regardless of which approach you choose, the resulting business value can be reported either as a single number or a range of values. This is yet another point the SSVS No 1 standard makes clear – business value is not a mathematical certainty, but an educated guess. The actual business value may be somewhere in the range depending upon the ever changing market conditions, or circumstances of a particular business sale.