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Credentialing of business appraisers comes from different organizations conferring different designations. Among the more popular and often encountered are the following along with the requirements to obtain the designation.
ASA (Accredited Senior Appraiser)
This is sponsored by the American Society of Appraisers. To obtain an ASA, one must:
The ASA designation for business appraisers covers the valuation of business interests, intangible assets (patents, trade secrets, goodwill, etc.)
CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)
This credential is sponsored by the CFA Institute (formerly the Association for Investment Management and Research or AIMR). The CFA Institute is not strictly an appraisal organization in that its members are primarily securities analysts, portfolio managers, investment bankers, and other investment consultants. However, the CFA is relevant to the business valuation field and is difficult to obtain. This is the credential of choice among public company stock analysts and other professionals listed above.
To obtain a CFA, one must pass three rigorous full-day examinations over a multi-year period, typically over 3-4 years. The exams cover a broad knowledge base, including the analysis and appraisal of closely held companies.
ABV (Accredited in Business Valuation)
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”) sponsors this credential. The AICPA accurately noted that many CPAs were interested in getting additional recognition for valuing businesses and were obtaining the CVA credential described above.
Since the AICPA designed the ABV to compete with the CVA. To obtain this credential, one must:
ABVs need not comply with USPAP in order to comply with rules of their sponsoring organization or to maintain their certificates. Many ABVs do not follow USPAP.
CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst)
A privately held; for-profit business sponsors this credential. To obtain a CVA, one must:
CVAs and AVAs need not comply with USPAP in order to comply with rules of their sponsoring organization or to maintain their certificates. Most CVAs and AVAs do not follow USPAP.
CBA (Certified Business Appraiser) and Master Certified Business Appraiser (MCBA) – NACVA (above) acquired the organization known as the Institute of Business Appraisers (IBA).
In 2016 NACVA dissolved the IBA and as of the end of 2018 holders of the CBA or MCBA need to comply with NAVCA’s annual recertification policies.