Nearly three-quarters (73.3%) of respondents to our latest online poll believe that there should be a single set of BV standards. This parallels the nearly 80% who answered “yes” to the same question in 2007—but notably, the more recent survey garnered over twice the number of responses, 149 compared to 72 four years ago, indicating that this hot-button issue has grown even more heated.
Importantly, respondents are split over the “ideal” number of BV credentials that the profession could support from one or more professional organizations. Barely one-eighth (12.5%) of survey participants believe that one credential would be best; nearly a third (32.1%) said two would be optimal, while 16.% answered “three” and only 8.9% supported four.
Written comments were even more divided, from one respondent who said, “When there is only ‘one’ of anything there is no motivation or incentive to do anything other than the status quo,” to another who believes, “Unless we unite, the accountants will continue to define valuation standards and make us do their bidding.” Some claim that the market will “force” unification, while several believe that the number of credentials turns on what the market will bear. The multiplicity of credentials may be causing more judges and attorneys to make the ultimate valuation decisions in courtroom cases, says one respondent, while another—who boasts five BV credentials plus a number of forensic certifications—says, “I find that they add to the weight given my testimony by judges and juries,” and that it’s “a hoot” to see opposing experts wasting their direct testimony explaining why they do not need them. Finally, one participant believes the profession would be better off without any credentials, due to the politics of “promoting ideology over good research.” Look for a complete discussion and summary of current opinions in a future Business Valuation Update.