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Are you valuing a business and plan to share your appraisal results with other business people or professionals? Then make sure you comply with major appraisal standards.

Perhaps the most important and best known professional standard governing all kinds of appraisals, including business valuation, is the venerable USPAP. This stands for the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. Yes, you guessed it, your house appraiser also must comply with the USPAP in order to provide an appraisal for a home purchase or a refi.

Rules providing guidance for business valuation

In addition to the actual standards defining how you should go about valuing a business, USPAP includes a set of rules. And the rules outline acceptable norms of conduct under the standard. Here is what the rules are about:

Ethical conduct

The Ethics Rule establishes the fundamental requirements on the appraiser’s work. These include professional integrity, impartiality, objectivity, unbiased judgment, and overall ethical behavior.

The Ethics Rule serves to preserve public trust in the appraisal profession. To achieve this goal, you should conduct your business valuations in a highly ethical manner, honor client confidentiality, and manage your projects in a professional manner.

Keeping clean business appraisal records

The Records Keeping Rule defines the record keeping requirements for documenting and reviewing the valuation assignment.

Business valuations produce a lot of details. And these range from statement of the problem, to market data analysis, assumptions, and decisions about business valuation methodologies and conclusions. To be useful, a business appraisal must be backed by a traceable, transparent document trail that can be reviewed in case of need.

Showing competence in conducting business valuations

The Competency Rule, unsurprisingly, states the need for the appraiser to demonstrate knowledge and experience in valuation.

This Rule is pretty obvious. To create a business appraisal others can rely on for critical decisions, you should possess the necessary knowledge and skills to get the job done. If in doubt, professionals should beg out of an engagement that seems beyond their abilities.

Well defined scope for every business appraisal project is a must

The Scope of Work Rule requires a clear definition of the appraisal engagement requirements. In addition, it describes the research and analysis to be performed.

It is always a good idea to clearly state what your business valuation project is about, why you are doing it and what you intend to do to get a result your clients can trust.

When the law conflicts with business valuation standards

The important Jurisdictional Exception Rule addresses the situations where the applicable law or public policy may conflict with the USPAP standard on what a business valuation must provide.

Let’s say you discover that a law requires you to do things differently than prescribed by the USPAP. Then you should state what this law is. And explain the limitations to your business valuation work that result from the need to comply with the law.

This way, your clients and business valuation report readers would know what may be missing. Note that attorney instructions or client wishes do not qualify for a jurisdictional exception. This is the purview of the actual laws and regulations.

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