What’s Your Business Worth?
Stephen L. Ferraro, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA, MAFF, CEBC
We perform business valuation services to support the successful transition of ownership in middle market businesses, provide business owners the timely information they need to make informed financial decisions, as well as support successful litigation efforts.
The personal wealth of over two-thirds (70%) of business owners is tied up in their business. For many of these individuals, the business becomes their personal retirement savings vehicle. These individuals, however, could be driving blind. Without knowing the value of the business, how will they know when they can stop working or the lifestyle to expect in retirement? Having the information needed to prepare adequately for retirement is just one of the many benefits to a business valuation.
Besides transition planning, privately held business owners, as well as the legal community can rely on our team of experts in valuation matters for assistance in the following areas:
- Increase Business Value. What is measured improves, and valuation is no different than establishing and overseeing a sales quota. A comprehensive business valuation will provide owners with a clear explanation of the value of the business along with evidence to support the result. It can tell an owner if efforts need refocusing, or … even better … if the company is headed in the right direction. The data helps guide strategic decisions and business development plans and can even help an owner determine whether the right people are in place to support long-term goals.
- Divorce. Business interests represent marital assets and could become part of an owner, partner, or shareholder’s divorce settlement. Both spouses may approach the settlement proceedings with independent business valuation reports, so historical valuations could provide valuable insights.
- Dissolution of Partnership. When a business partnership goes bad or partners agree to part ways, the parties have to find a fair and equitable split of interests. Whether the weighting shares changes, one partner buys the other out, the partnership gets dissolved, or there’s a litigated shareholder divorce, a business valuation will facilitate the process.
- Capital Infusion. Outside investors and lending institutions will evaluate the business plan, shareholders’ agreement, investment memorandum, and valuation before investing or loaning capital.
- Mergers and Acquisitions. A business valuation facilitates a negotiation between entities entertaining a possible merger or acquisition.
- Tax Strategies. A valuation report can lead to tax benefits an owner might not otherwise claim. A current valuation is also required for estate tax settlements, to calculate capital gains tax liabilities, and for income or property tax disputes.
- Employee Incentive Programs. A company must disclose its value to employees to satisfy annual requirements for Employee Stock Ownership Plans.
- Insurance Planning. Nearly three-quarters (70%) of businesses do not have adequate insurance coverage. When an owner doesn’t know the value of his/her business, it is challenging to determine how much insurance is needed. Also, if an owner is injured or wrongfully distracted from business, a historical valuation could help recover losses.
CONCLUSIONS / OPINIONS OF VALUE
We have extensive experience with traditional and more formal business valuations, which are often necessary based on the intended use, such as litigation, annual ESOP engagements or estate and gift tax filings. These engagements result in a “Conclusion or Opinion of Value” and can be performed at various levels.
BV Level 1 – We perform all of the procedures required to present an Opinion or Conclusion of Value. Our findings are communicated in computational exhibits without a valuation report narrative. In addition to financial analysis, industry benchmarking and comparable transaction searches, Level 1 includes a self-assessment of owner dependency to help identify where the business may be vulnerable, or increase value, due to over reliance on key individuals. It also involves a self-assessed value driver profile to evaluate how the company may be viewed from the standpoint of company specific risk and growth potential. The assessments of owner dependency and value drivers, particularly in transition planning engagements, can also be used as tools to help facilitate discussions around increasing the transferability and profitability of the business. Fee Range: $5,000 to $10,000.
BV Level 2 – We provide everything in BV Level 1 and our valuation findings are communicated in a summary report narrative. Fee Range: $7,500 to $12,500.
BV Level 3 – We provide everything in BV Level 1 and our findings are communicated in a detailed report narrative suitable to support testimony in deposition, arbitration, or litigation, and may be introduced as evidence before a trier of fact. Fee Range: $10,000 to $15,000.
*Engagements can be conducted in 2 phases where Phase 1 includes BV Level 1 and Phase 2 includes the reporting from BV Level 2 or BV Level 3.
Consulting, Litigation Support and Related Valuation Services
Additional services will be billed at our standard hourly rates. Such services could include expanded due diligence, asset tracing, merger and acquisition planning, risk assessments, succession planning, exit planning, business growth and profitability planning, transactional tax planning, owner dependency or value driver consulting, transfer options analysis, proforma development, owner dispute resolution assistance, deposition assistance and expert testimony.
CALCULATIONS OF VALUE
The real reason most business owners put off knowing the value of their business could be the result of an error in perception. Formal business valuations, while required or desirable under certain circumstances, typically involve a fairly extensive, more expensive and time-consuming process. Thanks to innovative technology, however, those barriers can be avoided in many situations. Using BizEquity, an online valuation service, our valuation experts can provide accurate “Calculations of Value” at a much more reasonable cost and quicker turnaround. Calculations of Value can be ideal for certain purposes, such as: strategic planning, transaction (purchase or sale) planning, transition planning or litigation or divorce proceedings, which are in the settlement stage. Fee Range: $2,500 to $3,000.
OUR BUSINESS VALUATION PARTNER