At 800 attendees, the AICPA & CIMA Forensic and Valuation Services Conference in Las Vegas was the largest event we’ve been to this year. Most (500) of the attendees were on-site at the Wynn, a welcome sight after so many virtual-only events. With over 60 sessions to choose from, there was something for everybody, and here are some interesting bits of information we picked up:
- The FVS section unveiled its five-year plan, which includes increased efforts to build a global community, expand training and education, and launch awareness campaigns to strengthen the name recognition of the ABV and CFF credentials;
- The keynote speaker, John Carreyrou, was the WSJ investigative reporter who exposed the Theranos scam—the audience was stunned to hear that none of the sophisticated investors who backed the startup ever asked to see audited financials;
- Kroll has switched its stance on the risk-free rate, advising analysts to use its recommended normalized rate or the spot rate, whichever is higher;
- If using the MUM for goodwill, consider using the “simplified” version that eliminates the elaborate scoring (see this 2016 article from Business Valuation Update);
- It’s “not that hard” to get into valuations for bankruptcy—practitioners are already doing a lot of similar work in other contexts;
- When doing valuations for damages, opposing counsel will try to trick you into opining on causation and then try to disqualify you (causation is the attorney’s job);
- PE activity has been weak since the middle of 2022—both investing and exiting activity—down 40% in deal and dollar volume;
- Don’t use tables when trying to present data in reports, but, if you must, color code them or use a heat map to make your point;
- Thought leaders are bullish on the BV profession, but the biggest problem is finding and growing staff;
- Working remotely has traditionally hurt someone’s chance for partnership, but that is gradually changing;
- Some firms are moving to a qualitative approach to adjusting market multiples—telling a story versus using a formula;
- If you list restricted stock studies in the DLOM section of your report, make sure you’ve read them; and
- Start your assessment of specific company risk by asking management this question: “What keeps you up at night?”
There will be a detailed recap of the conference in the January 2023 issue of Business Valuation Update.
This article has been revised to reflect that the conference was held at the Wynn, not Caesar's Palace. The 2023 FVS conference will be at Caesar's Palace.
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