There were a number of useful takeaways from Darrell Dorrell’s session at the two-day 11th Annual FAE/BVR Business Valuation Conference earlier this week in NYC. However, the ones that seemed to resonate most with attendees were based on a simple, yet often overlooked premise: With a few simple steps, you can take your appraisal reports from good to great, while enhancing your reputation as a top notch professional who goes the extra mile by providing an additional layer of information. This two-hour lecture touched on many in-depth and technical topics, but also emphasized the need to look externally, such as investigating transactions/interactions with suppliers, customers, investors/lenders, regulators and employees.
The firm that Dorrell helped found—Lake Oswego, Oregon-based Financial Forensics®—has accomplished much work in the field, including everything from assisting the FBI in identifying money laundering and other white-collar crimes to providing technical advice to the Law & Order television series. Consequently, it seemed only fitting that Dorrell offered insights on what he called “cookies on the bottom shelf”—or covert forensic tools. Among them were four Web sites that generated a lot of “buzz” among attendees:
- Black Book Online is a free site that allows users to conduct searches of information contained in the public record. Dorrell said that he finds something useful almost every week by using the site’s reverse look-up tool. For example: A husband in a matrimonial case claimed he had only one business. The reverse look-up feature revealed that he owned four.
- Veromi is a reasonably priced, paid site that delivers data on facts like previous employers, prior marriages, and even former roommates. According to Dorrell, this site is most effective in showing relationships that may not otherwise come to light. “Look at the relationships. Identify those relationships, and you’ll find the money,” Dorrell said.
- StatSoft is an “electronic textbook” with what Dorrell described as “extraordinary detail on statistical techniques.”
- The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a U.S. Treasury site, is also worth a quick look.
Another practical takeaway: Dorrell recommends using pictures in your valuation reports. They help convey the context for the readers’ benefit. Dorrell also recently spoke about this same subject at the Portland, OR, ASA chapter meeting. He provided BVR with a PDF of his PowerPoint presentation which is available on the Free Resources page.
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