Industry expert vs. BV analyst

BVWireIssue #139-5
April 30, 2014

A common question from business owners and their advisors is: Should we use an industry expert or a business valuation professional to value our company? Gettry Marcus (Woodbury, N.Y.), a valuation and forensic accounting firm, responds by pointing out that, while an industry expert is familiar with the unique aspects of a particular line of business, a valuation analyst can gather that same knowledge. This is done through “independent economic and industry research, and one or more interviews with members of management,” the firm says. “This information, combined with the valuation expert’s experience and training over many years, informs his or her judgment and knowledge as it relates to several key portions of the analysis.”

Career advice:
Of course, we agree with this, but let’s take it a step further. Should the valuation analyst become a specialist? When we recently asked the very experienced members of the BVU Editorial Advisory Board for their thoughts on career advice, the most frequent answer we received was that valuation analysts should develop a specialty, whether it be related to an industry or a particular type of valuation (such as lost profits, intellectual property, ESOPs, etc.).

“Find a niche where you can position yourself as an expert as early as you can in your career,” advises Rod Burkert (Burkert Valuation Advisors LLC). “The temptation is to say you can do all valuations,” observes Lance Hall (FMV Opinions). However, the profession has advanced to the point where being a generalist may not be the best idea. “Business valuation has become a true specialty,” says Gary Trugman (Trugman Valuation Associates). “It is not meant for the practitioner who wants to do a little of this and a little of that. When you’re sick, you go to a specialist—not the family doctor.” Specialization can also enhance the value of your services, as Hall points out: “Once you invest in specialization, it’s easier to differentiate your services and maintain higher fees.”

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