Michael B. Lehner, CPA/ABV, CFE, ASA
May 29, 2017

Business valuation looks to the future, not the past

When one is valuing a business, historical results are only relevant to the extent that similar results are expected in the coming years. This article explains how business valuators handle major changes to a subject company’s internal and external market conditions, such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) new overtime regulations. A sidebar highlights the perils of valuing a business based on oversimplified forecasts.
May 21, 2017
business valuation

3 reasons why selling price isn’t necessarily a cash-equivalent value

When the value of a business is based on the sales of comparable companies under the guideline merger and acquisition (M&A) method, it’s important to understand the cash-equivalent value of comparables. Creative deal terms can make a deal more (or less) valuable than it appears on the surface. This article lists three common reasons why selling price can be misleading: installment sales, earnouts and contractual agreements with sellers. Deals with such terms may require an adjustment to arrive at a cash-equivalent value. A sidebar demonstrates how deal structure can help bridge a bid-ask spread in an M&A transaction.
May 13, 2017
business valuation

Site visits are a critical part of the business valuation process

Financial statements, tax returns and marketing materials tell only part of the story. To get a comprehensive understanding of how a business runs, a valuation expert usually needs to see it — and talk to management — firsthand. This article explains the information that may be unearthed during site visits and the types of questions to expect during management interviews.
March 20, 2017
business valuation

What’s normal? – The ins and outs of business valuation adjustments

To create an accurate picture of a company’s finances, a valuator likely will need to make various adjustments to “normalize” earnings. But determining what’s normal involves detailed analysis, as well as an understanding of the company’s current and future operations. This article talks about how appraisers determine whether to make discretionary, discount-related, or other adjustments to better reflect the future cash flow a prospective buyer could generate from a company’s operations.
September 18, 2016
shareholder disputes

Settling shareholder disputes

A company’s owners tend to get along when times are good, but economic downturns can bring out the worst in shareholder relations. This article uses a hypothetical case study to illustrate how valuators can serve as expert witnesses or consultants, helping settle shareholder disputes both in and out of court. Valuators are objective outsiders who can defuse emotions and help the remaining owners refocus their attention on building and preserving value.
September 17, 2016
business valuation hidden assets unreported income

In search of unreported income

Getting a client a fair divorce settlement is challenging enough. But when the other spouse siphons off a business’s income, there’s double trouble. That’s why it’s critical to employ a forensic expert at the first sign of malfeasance. He or she can use several accounting methods to uncover missing income in divorce cases. This article explains some of these methods.
August 22, 2016
business valuation

Using a third business valuation expert to bridge the gap

When each side to a legal dispute hires its own business valuator, the two experts are unlikely to come up with exactly the same conclusion. It sometimes makes sense to hire another valuator to identify and reconcile key differences. This article provides guidance about hiring a third valuator, including how to keep costs down and define parameters up front.
June 27, 2016
business valuation

Think of business valuation first when writing buy-sell agreements

Buy-sell agreements protect business owners from unexpected events. They can also be important when owners disagree and want to sell their interests — or buy out a difficult partner. Too often valuation issues take the backseat to legal issues, leading to irreconcilable differences when the agreement comes into play. Whether owners are deciding on a current buyout price, purchasing insurance coverage for key shareholders or planning future buyout terms, an accurate valuation is imperative. This article provides a definition of value and looks at the three valuation methods used. It also notes the importance of updating the agreement over time.
June 18, 2016
5 steps to valuing a business

5 steps to valuing a business

Valuators use a variety of analytical techniques and possess different qualifications. But a common denominator is the process that everyone uses to value a business. This article describes the five steps a valuator undergoes: 1) agreeing on engagement parameters, 2) requesting documents, 3) undertaking fieldwork, 4) preparing the report, and 5) providing expert testimony.
June 10, 2016

Revenue Ruling 59-60:Tried-and-true guidance for valuing private business interests

Revenue Ruling 59-60 of the Internal Revenue Code has been around for nearly 60 years. The IRS originally created this landmark publication for gift and estate tax purposes. Today, it’s often referenced in valuations prepared for other reasons, including divorce cases and shareholder disputes. This article highlights its definition of fair market value and lists various factors to consider when valuing a closely held business interest. A sidebar discusses what this guidance says about the use of weights and averages in business valuation.