An Easy Way to Discredit a Business Valuation Expert

Upon completion of a business valuation report, the expert wants to convey to the readers that work was completed and the conclusion reached.  Not having a conclusion as to the work performed is a waste of time money and effort.  The Statement on Standards for Valuation Services #1(”SSVS #1”) are the Professional Standards followed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants holding the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV”) credential and the National Association of Consultants and Valuators credential, holding the Certified Valuation Analyst (“CVA”) credential.

Professional Business Valuation Standards

It is very common to see a business valuation report prepared by a Certified Valuation Analyst (“CVA”) and an Accredited in Business Valuation (“ABV”) where they are expressing an opinion on the value they have determined.  All CVA’s and ABV’s must follow the Professional Standards issued by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (“NACVA”) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA”).

Both of the NACVA and AICPA Professional Standards state “A Valuation Engagement requires that a member apply valuation approaches or methods deemed in the member’s professional judgment to be appropriate under the circumstances and results in a Conclusion of Value,


A Calculation of Value occurs when the client and member agree on specific calculation approaches, methods, and the extent of selected procedures and results in a Calculated Value.”

Not Following Professional Business Valuation Standards

Most business valuation reports I have reviewed that have been prepared by CVA’s and ABV’s state that the expert is providing an “opinion” of value.

This is incorrect as the NACVA or AICPA Standards have no provision for the expert to express an opinion of value. (emphasis added)

This is an indication that the business valuation expert is not familiar with their Professional Standard and is using language that has not been approved by either business valuation association. 

Discredit the CVA or ABV Expert

This is an easy way to discredit the business valuation expert.  They have to know the Professional Standards in order to obtain either of the credentials.

The Professional Standards is a set of rules and guidelines that appraisers must follow.  Its purpose is to promote and maintain the public trust in the work of the appraiser.  (emphasis added)

The reason this is an important issue is that if the business valuation expert cannot be trusted to follow their Professional Standards by not using the proper language to describe the conclusion of their work product, how can they be trusted that they have not violated other sections of their Professional Standards.

Is It Possible for a CVA to Ever Issue a Report expressing an Opinion?

Yes, it is possible. The Uniform Standards of Professional Practice (“USPAP”) authorizes the use of an opinion of value.  Since the expert has to comply with sets of Professional Standards, they would need to express an opinion to be in compliance with USPAP.


I help attorneys by converting complex financial matters into understandable concepts.  This makes it easier for the attorney explain the complex issues to their clients. 

I have earned the most difficult business valuation designations for valuations of closely held companies.

I have earned a Master’s Degree in Business Valuations and apply those skills to my everyday business valuations.

Richard Claywell has been valuing closely held companies since 1985.  He has earned two of the highest designations in the business valuation field , the Certified Business Appraiser (“CBA”) and Accredited Senior Appraiser (“ASA”),  Richard is a Certified Public Accountant, has a Master’s in Business Valuation (MBV)  and holds the ASA, CBA, ABV, ICVS, CVA, MAFF, CFD, ABAR, CVGA, ICVS-A credentials.

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