In May, the American Institution of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) voted unanimously to offer its Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential to non-CPAs. Previously, the credential was available only to CPAs, although non-CPAs had valuation certification options from other well-known credentialing organizations such as the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts and the American Society of Appraisers.
To earn the ABV credential, CPAs are required to obtain 75 hours of valuation-related education, complete 150 hours of business valuation work experience, and pass the ABV examination.
While these requirements haven’t changed for CPAs, the eligibility requirements for non-CPAs require financial professionals to hold a college degree, complete 75 hours of valuation-related education, complete 1,500 hours of business valuation work experience, and pass the ABV examination.
All ABV credential holders must also complete 20 hours of continuing professional development annually and comply with the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and Statements on Standards for Valuation Services.
According to the AICPA, expanding ABV eligibility to qualified finance professionals “helps to promote consistency, quality, and transparency in the valuation marketplace.” The organization said, “Clients and potential clients can trust that ABV credential holders have the competencies to provide premier valuation services.”
The move sparked a strong reaction by the CPA community, which claimed that AICPA members and stakeholders were not consulted in advance about the change and that the change represents a “seismic shift in the AICPA’s goals for the credential.”
Nonetheless, the change was approved, and it is likely that more valuation analysts will join the ranks of the more than 3,200 CPA/ABVs.
For those seeking valuation services, it is important to work with a credentialed valuation professional to ensure that he or she has the training and experience to conduct an appropriate valuation of a financial interest, security, or intangible asset.