Poll: Some valuation experts expect an increase in business

BVWireIssue #211-4
April 22, 2020

practice management and growth
practice management, coronavirus, COVID-19

During BVR’s recent town hall webinar on the valuation impacts of COVID-19, 25% of the audience said they expect business valuation engagements to “increase slightly” and 21% said business will stay the same. The rest expected business to drop, with 19% saying it will drop a “little” (meaning 10% or less), 22% saying “some” (11% to 25% drop) and 13% saying it will decrease “significantly” (more than 25%). We received over 900 responses to the poll.

Panel members commented: “I anticipate possible increases in business over the next six months, especially in the family law area,” says Michelle Gallagher (Adamy Valuations). “We are doing multiple valuations potentially in the estate and gift area for transactions happening right now or in the very near future.” She also felt that her firm will be busy with litigation. Gary Trugman (Trugman Valuation) also expects to get busier. “Obviously, we have a big litigation practice. I have four trials and two depositions already cancelled, which is not good for business, but we are still getting phone calls about other types of valuation,” he says. “We are just rethinking how we bid those jobs so that we can keep the jobs coming to keep our own cash flow going.”

We hear that some firms, especially those that include a traditional CPA practice, are finding a new niche: counseling clients through the government stimulus programs for small business and then handling the recordkeeping for inevitable audits (especially for the forgivable loans).

Are BV firms’ hiring plans impacted? “We are planning on hiring a new associate,” reports Harold Martin (Kieter). “Our firm is taking the position that we will obviously watch things very closely, but we are proceeding with the expectation that we will come out of this.” He recalls being with two of the (then) Big Eight firms that delayed hiring during a tough time, and, while they saved costs in the short term, “it came back to bite us two years down the road when we were missing all those staff.” Stacy Preston Collins (Financial Research Associates) made an interesting point as to the difficulty of training someone 100% remotely during the current lockdown. “I have done a little bit of that in the short term, but I would worry a little about hiring someone and having them work from home full-time,” she says. “I think I would want to wait until people were back in the office just in terms of a learning issue. But barring that, I don’t foresee any issues. I just want to have a situation conducive to a new person learning because so much of it is on the job.”

Extra: Another free town hall webinar will be held on May 6, Valuation and COVID-19 Update: BVR Townhall and Q&A.

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