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Quick Guide: Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) Credential

Quick Guide: Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) Credential

Forensics & Litigation Support  |  Business Valuation

As a CPA, ABV and CVA, my credentials are a source of pride for me. Most people recognize the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. However, very few people recognize other credentials in the accounting and forensic accounting field.

The other credentials I hold are in business valuation. Providing business valuations is complex, requires hard work, extensive training and a commitment to staying current in the profession through continuing education. By having and maintaining these credentials, I signify to my current and future clients that I am capable and ready to handle the task of valuing one of their most precious assets — their business.

In particular, I want to talk about the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential.

What is the ABV credential?

The ABV credential is granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). The AICPA is a well-known organization that represents and advocates for those in the CPA profession. It began offering the offering the ABV credential in 1997.

What are the requirements of the ABV credential?

The requirements to obtain the ABV credential are as follows:

  1. Maintain AICPA membership in good standing.
  2. Hold a CPA license or certificate in good standing. Non-CPAs must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and complete the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and Standards Education for Finance Professionals course (CPAs are exempt from this requirement).
  3. Pass the ABV exam, which is a two-part exam. Each module is three hours and 15 minutes long and asks 90 multiple-choice questions. The candidate has 12 months to complete both portions of the exam.
  4. Meet business and education requirements: CPAs must obtain 1,500 hours of valuation experience within the five years preceding the date of the credential application, while finance professional candidates are required to obtain 4,500 hours of valuation experience before applying. All candidates must complete 75 hours of valuation-related continuing professional development within the five year period preceding the date of the credential application.

How do ABV’s recertify?

To recertify, ABV’s are required to complete four hours of professional ethics education every three years. They must also complete 60 hours of continuing professional development within the credential body of knowledge every three years, with a minimum of ten hours annually.

What does the ABV credential demonstrate?

The ABV credential requires a significant amount of effort to obtain and maintain. A person that is not committed to the valuation profession is not likely to maintain this credential. Due to the wide number of professionals performing valuation services, it can be hard to distinguish between those that occasionally perform valuations and those that have significant experience and are dedicated to the valuation practice. Because of the high standards set by the AICPA, ABV’s are usually part of the latter group.

In addition, the AICPA has professional standards that credential holders are required to follow. These standards require that ABV’s like me follow commonly accepted methodologies and procedures for performing valuation services. Due to the convergence of standards over the years, a valuation performed in compliance with the AICPA’s standards is likely in compliance with valuation standards issued by other organizations.

When is a business valuation required?

Business valuations are needed for a wide variety of reasons. Generally, the reason for a business valuation falls into one of three categories:

  • Advisory, including mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and succession planning
  • Tax and financial reporting, including ESOPs, stock compensation, and estate and gift taxes
  • Dispute/litigation, including marital, partnership and corporate dissolutions, ownership disputes and economic damages

How do I pick an expert for a business valuation?

I would encourage you to find someone who holds one or more valuation credentials, such as the ABV. When it comes to business valuations, credentials matter. They are evidence of a valuation professional’s experience, training and knowledge. (Psst…my colleague Richard Wolf wrote an article on how to select a business valuation expert here.)

Need Help?

Our team of business valuation experts are here to help. We provide business valuations to clients in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. You can contact us online or by calling 800.899.4623.

how to find a business valuation expert

Editor's note: this article was originally published in 2020. It was updated with new information in 2023.

Published on August 01, 2023