Michael B. Lehner, CPA/ABV, CFE, ASA
May 20, 2015
business valuation

An additional opinion can help resolve business valuation disputes

Even two unbiased, equally qualified valuation professionals applying sound appraisal practices are unlikely to arrive at exactly the same number. In fact, valuation differences of 10% or more are common — even under ideal circumstances. In litigation, when neither valuator will concede an objective third expert can help settle the dispute. This article discusses third expert selection and uses a hypothetical case to illustrate the important role a third expert can play.
May 20, 2015
business valuation experts accounting

Why business valuation experts need accounting know-how

Accounting and appraisal are interrelated disciplines. After all, financial statements are the foundation for valuing a business. So it’s imperative that business valuation experts understand accounting terminology and how to adjust for material differences in accounting methods.
May 20, 2015
business valuation

In business valuation, “normal” matters

Typically, the starting point for measuring a company’s earning power is its financial statements and other documents that reflect historic financial performance. But often, these documents contain entries that can distort a company’s true earning potential. For this reason, valuation experts often adjust a company’s financial statements to provide a picture of its financial performance under “normal” conditions. This article looks at three common areas of adjustment and explains the circumstances under which a normalization adjustment is appropriate.
May 18, 2015
valuation date

Why the valuation date is so critical

Business valuation experts are prepared for a number of reasons: estate planning, divorce settlements and shareholder litigation, just to name a few. And while the parties in these various matters may focus solely on the valuation amount, a valuation expert will also be focusing on the valuation date. This article explains why, under certain circumstances, an executor may elect to use an “alternate valuation date” rather than one that’s customarily used.
April 16, 2015
Divorce taxes

Factoring taxes into divorce settlements

How assets are split up in a divorce can have significant tax consequences, especially when the marital estate includes a private business interest. Valuation is just part of the picture. Equitable distributions require the parties to premeditate tax issues, too. This article lists common marital assets allocated in divorce settlement agreements. It also discusses how taxes affect asset value and explains how corporate redemptions are taxed. A sidebar looks at real estate and other investments that may create taxable gains when they’re sold.
February 17, 2015
joint valuation experts meeting

Can joint business valuation experts really work?

Many courts and attorneys encourage the use of a joint valuation expert, rather than two dueling valuators. This can save time and money. It can also eliminate the perception that each side’s expert is a hired gun, advocating for his or her client’s financial interests. This article explains how a joint appraiser can speed the valuation process while avoiding potential acrimony, but also notes that joint appraisers don’t work in every situation.
February 17, 2015
business valuation

Factoring fraud into the business valuation equation

Fraud can devastate a closely held business, and valuators do take fraud risks into account when appraising a private business interest. This article discusses the results of a biennial fraud study that looks at who is most at risk for fraud. The article also explains how fraud risks affect value.
December 10, 2014
shareholder dispute

Minority shareholder disputes

Business owners enter into stock-purchase agreements to facilitate buyouts upon certain triggering events, such as a shareholder’s death or divorce. But a recent Minnesota Court of Appeals case shows how courts sometimes disregard these agreements, leaving minority and controlling shareholders vulnerable to court-ordered buyouts. This article points out how business valuation experts can help ascertain whether the appraisal provisions of a stock-purchase agreement remain relevant and provide updated appraisals when needed.
December 1, 2014

Mapping out standards of value

Before starting any appraisal assignment, it’s imperative to map out the appropriate “standard of value” to ensure that everyone arrives at the same point. If not, the parties are likely to end up off course or in need of backtracking. This article discusses various standards of value — fair market value, strategic value and fair value — and when each standard may apply.
October 23, 2014
business valuation reports

Recycle paper and plastic, not business valuation reports

It may seem economical and time-effective to reuse an old business appraisal for a new purpose. But recycling an appraisal without a valuator’s approval could prove costly over the long run. This article points out that there can be several definitions of value; a company’s value can change over time; and valuators face different considerations depending on why a business is being appraised.