Analysts new to the profession should take note of the comments offered by Mike Mard, Anthony Aaron, Stamos Nicholas, Matt Pinson, and Howard Scribner at BVR’s Second Annual Fair Value Summit held in New York City last week. These speakers kicked off their session—Big Four Panel: Get Your Questions Answered BEFORE the Review—with a short list of their pet peeves for BV experts. Their take on issues to avoid: 1) Don’t be a dabbler: These people lack appropriate training as it pertains to business valuation. Consequently, they need to study standards and gain a long-term BV perspective. The panel’s advice: get some grounding in the subject by working with someone who has the appropriate experience. 2) Avoid incompletion: Read relevant documents in their entirety. When Mard queried audience members on how many of them had read FAS 157 in its entirety, surprisingly, the entire room was not able to raise their hands. The panel’s advice: Understand that you don’t have a full understanding unless you’ve done the homework by reading the document’s front end, back end, and minutes. 3) Understand the definition of professional suicide. For instance: new analysts should never do their first 141 on a hedge fund. 4) Do your homework. Always complete the level of work needed to support your analysis and work to understand the nuances about what the standards require. Remember: valuation analysts should not practice accounting. Keep the focus on what’s observable and non-observable.
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