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By Edward J. Dupke

[Editor's note: The AICPA's Management Consulting Services Section is currently developing an accreditation program in business valuation. In connection therewith, the AICPA recently surveyed members about how they feel about a valuation speciality. The AICPA Council will be considering the specialty designation issues at its October 1996 meeting. The accompanying article was excerpted from an article written by the chair of the AICPA Business Valuations and Appraisals Subcommittee. It attempts to deal with some of the concerns small practitioners have with the program.]

The AICPA has been operating with an eye toward positioning the CPA as the premier business advisor. As a result, the AICPA has identified as a strategic initiative, the recognition of and support for specialized services. Business valuation is one of those services. For years, the CPA's opinion was sought first on business valuation issues. Now, however, we are seeing CPA firms expand their recruiting efforts to obtain people who have experience in business valuation. However, by going outside the profession to purchase the needed expertise, we are surrendering this
practice area.

Additionally, non-CPA appraisal organizations are promoting their own credentialed members as being more qualified than CPAs to provide advice in this area. This allows other organizations to take over and push the CPA completely out of the marketplace for business valuation.

Competitive Issues

From what we have learned thus far from practitioners is that, while they support the concept of an accreditation, they still have reservations about the business valuation accreditation program as currently proposed.

The issue is the CPAs' competitive position against other non-CPA professionals. An accreditation projects an image of competence and, along with continuing professional development, reinforces the CPA's integrity and objectivity. The success of an accreditation in business valuation (especially for small firms) will largely be determined by the CPA profession's efforts to develop plans for the training of future valuation experts, the identification of those experts, and the existence of a solid referral network for specialized engagements.

It is important that those from smaller CPA firms be able to pursue a business valuation designation. Otherwise a large segment of the public as well as the profession itself will be deprived of the CPAs' perspective and expertise. An accreditation sends a message to the public that this member of the profession possesses the necessary knowledge and experience and is a well-qualified small firm practitioner who provides business valuation.

Call to Action

Our profession is at a crossroads; to remain relevant and valuable, we must stay ahead of the curve. We believe from a macro perspective that there is a significant risk to the profession in not taking a leadership role. We believe the creation of a business valuation accreditation program will make the AICPA a major player in business valuation, and CPAs leading service providers. *

Edward J. Dupke, CPA, is a principal with Rehmann Robson, P.C. in Grand Rapids, MI, and is the current chair of the AICPA Business Valuations and Appraisals

Any comments on the proposed credentialling may be sent to Steven E. Sacks, CPA, Senior Technical Manager; AICPA, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York NY 10036-8775.

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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