Will ‘knowledge explosion’ blow apart BV profession?

BVWireIssue #68-3
May 22, 2008

Business valuation specialists are a lot like other professionals—what currently keeps more than a third (36.4%) awake at night, according to our latest online poll, is finding a quality of life/workload balance.  What sets them apart is the explosive growth of the profession: More than a quarter of respondents (27.3%) worry about expanding their practices into specialized niches, and a solid two-thirds majority (68.2%) believes that the proliferation of new information, technologies, and BV-specific knowledge will have the biggest impact on their practices in the immediate future.

How best to stay current with this “knowledge explosion”?  Most take CPE courses (81.8%) and attend professional conferences (68.2%—respondents could choose more than one option).  Some form local networking groups (13.6%) or they teach and write articles (18.2%).  Others “commit at least two hours a week to professional reading,” or just “read, read, read.”  But one participant believes that “staying current” has come to mean trying to cover “every theory on every issue that each of a varied group of professional leaders comes up with.”

Frankly, our undoing will be our effort to be expert economists, accountants, tax authorities, estate wizards, and writers.  We started out espousing the need to dispel with the know-it-all ‘holier than thou’ approach of some of the other appraisal fields, to understand that this isn't pure measurable science.  And we have now come to a place where we pronounce finite measure of the unmeasurable, and then struggle to find a way to justify it.  The fanciest speaker wins the day over reason and logic; and BV services have become so cumbersome to develop and administer, time consuming and expensive, that only very large cases can benefit from them.  What has all this done for our practice?  It has pushed the valuation services back to business brokers and anyone who can hang a shingle without a liability fear. For all the education and experience we have (over 25 years), we can no longer remain compliant and make these engagements [worthwhile].

What do you think—by adding expertise, has the BV profession added to its insomnia?  Please take a couple of minutes to contribute to our ongoing poll by clicking here.

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