Preface: “How do we value all that obsolete inventory and keep on track with our earnings guidance? No worries, we can value it at a fair price and call it ‘collectors edition’ stock.” — From a business ethics discussion.
Valuing your Business – A Calculation of Value or Conclusion of Value Valuation
Credit: Donald J. Sauder, CPA | CVA (2015)
Business valuation is a complex field with multiple aspects in the determination of a business interest’s value. Whether you’re selling a business, buying a business interest, involved in court actions, estate planning, or filing gift taxes, a business valuator can assist you in achieving a realistic and fair valuation.
There are two types of business valuations – a conclusion of value and calculation of value.
A conclusion of value or full valuation begins when a client and valuation analyst determine the valuation approach with an engagement letter. This letter outlines the extent of the valuation with a full report according to the professional standards of the business valuations.
For a CPA certified in business valuation this would be the standards set for by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Individual appraisal organizations have their own set of professional standards. An AICPA valuation includes a client request to value a business interest, and an estimate in value according to Statements on Standards for Valuation Services No. 1, The valuation applies any needed valuation methodology as prescribed by the valuator. The valuator then publishes a conclusion of value report. A full valuation report could exceed 45 pages with defensible proofs for the determined value of the business.
A calculation of value is much more limited in scope and nature and does not require any specific methodology beyond those agreed to by the valuator and client. So a calculation of value could overlook important characteristics in valuing your business accurately. With a calculation of value, a detailed value report, providing more depth on valuation numerics, is not prepared. A calculation of value is performed with only an agreement between the valuator and client on the methodology and procedures performed on the business interest, a calculation of the business value according to the agreed upon procedures, and an opinion provided by the valuator to the client on the calculated value, such as a verbal report.
Because of the savings in cost, a calculation of value may be adequate in some instances for determining a business value, depending on why the client needs the valuation.
Calculations of value are less expensive than a comprehensive conclusion of value, but you should have an experienced business valuator advise you on what valuation option will work for your business. The thoroughness of a valuation requires that you provide the valuator with all relevant documents and financial statements to determine an accurate value for your business.
If financial statements are deficient or records inadequate, you may need to choose a calculation of value because the necessary records are not available for a conclusion of value report. Yet, with a full valuation report, there is little room for question on the thoroughness of value, and the report will be defensible in more circumstances.
In summary, business valuation is a field where you are well advised to get an expert to work with you in valuing your business interest. You understand the value of hiring an expert to file taxes for business entities; it’s the same with business valuation. If you need a valuation of your business, for a transaction, for giving, or for estate planning, talk with your CPA or attorney to obtain a trusted referral to a valuation expert.