Why isn’t business valuation more fully recognised as a profession?

BVWire–UKIssue #38-2
May 17, 2022

The business valuation profession in the UK has evolved rapidly, though much of that has been the result of IASB and other regulatory change, mostly affecting the practices of the large audit firms. Still, most note that few business leaders fully understand business valuation and few younger professionals even know that the profession exists. This situation has not improved, though groups such as SSBV, the ICAEW, and RICS have made efforts.

BVWire—UK discussed this topic with a number of UK valuers recently, and we received a number of interesting perspectives:

  • “Business valuation is very subjective and it’s difficult to manage a team because there is so much variation in approach. I think most small business valuation firms have a tough time leveraging junior talent.”
  • “I think BV requires very strong writing skills, which is not emphasised by either ICAEW or CFA programs. And, I think BV requires a lot of common sense, which can be hit or miss in any profession.”
  • “The fact that none of our professional organisations fully recognise business valuation as a profession, and do not offer a discrete certification, has held the profession back for many years.”
  • “Many clients, particularly at the SME end where we do most of our work, are price sensitive. Therefore, there are fewer on-ramps to BV. The larger firms retain all of the complex deep-pocket engagements, pricing out everyone else.”
  • “BV has been great for me because it is interesting, challenging, and allows me to be self-employed and work from home—even when working from home wasn’t cool.”
  • Unlike most other professions, “ageism doesn’t appear to be a problem. I am 68 and have no plans to retire—unless the brain starts to atrophy (which could happen, let’s be realistic). I do realise that the profession needs to replenish itself as baby boomers sunset their careers.… The hardest part is the first job in BV.”
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