Top Credentialing Organizations
There are four main organizations granting business valuation credentials. Each has different requirements.
ASA & IBA
The credentials granted from the ASA and IBA are generally held in higher regard, as the exams are more difficult and have lower passing rates, and peer review of actual appraisal reports is required.
AICPA & NACVA
The credentials offered by the AICPA and NACVA have less demanding exams and do not require peer review of actual work product.
Listed In Order Of Prestige:
American Society of Appraisers (ASA), grants two credentials, Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) and Accredited Member (AM).Both require a college degree and a 15-hour USPAP (Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, from the Appraisal Foundation) course and test, and completion of four 24-hour training courses conducted by the Society with 3-hour exams at the end of each course. The applicant also must submit two appraisal reports for peer review.The AM requires 2 years of full-time business valuation experience and the ASA requires five years full-time experience.
Institute of Business Appraisers (IBA) grants two credentials, Master Certified Business Appraiser (MCBA) and Certified Business Appraiser (CBA).The CBA requires a college degree. CBA requires 90 hours of class instruction in business valuation or 5 years full-time experience in business valuation, and passing a 6-hour proctored exam. The applicant also must submit two appraisal reports for peer review.The MCBA requires 10 years as a CBA plus a two-year post graduate degree, and 15 years full-time experience in business appraisal.
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) grants one credential, Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV). The ABV is granted to CPAs. It requires a college degree and evidence of involvement in 10 business valuation assignments, and passing an 8-hour proctored exam.
National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) grants two credentials, Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) and Accredited Valuation Analyst (AVA). CVA is granted to CPAs. Both require a college degree. The CVA requires 2 years experience in business valuation as a licensed CPA. The AVA requires 2-years experience or 10 business valuation assignments. Both require a 40-hour course provided by the society and passing a 5-hour proctored exam, and take-home case study.
An important and related credential is granted by the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA). IBBA grants a Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) credential. CBI requires three years full-time experience as a business broker, a college degree can be substituted for 2 years of experience. The CBI candidate must complete 64 hours (8 courses) Association courses with an exam for each course, and a comprehensive CBI exam. While the main focus is not in certifying business appraisers, approximately 60% of the required course work involves valuing and pricing small and mid-sized businesses.The CBI is an important credential because many stakeholders (attorneys, accountants, judges, etc.) understand that the best judge of value is someone who is engaged in actually selling businesses on a regular basis.