- Salary Range: $83,000 - $200,000
- The Chartered Business Valuator designation is increasingly being accepted as the norm in commercial litigation matters.
- Experts with a CBV tend to have evidence accepted in court more often than those without the designation.
- Finance professionals seek their CBV designation to get an edge and stand out in the marketplace and enjoy a more diverse work life.
- Chartered Business Valuators say the designation opens doors and brings opportunities.
Finance and accounting may be the two most competitive fields in the business world, and that’s a trend that’s not showing any signs of slowing. With thousands of new graduates entering the workforce each year and professionals from other areas switching things up and moving into finance in search of career opportunities, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to get an edge. This has left increasing numbers of CAs, CPAs, CFAs and other finance and investment pros looking for a way to stand out in the marketplace. One path in particular has been drawing increasing numbers of finance professionals: the CBV designation.
While most people are familiar with the most common professional designations in finance such as Chartered Accountant (CA) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), the Chartered Business Valuator (CBV) designation is still somewhat of a well-kept secret. Created in 1972, the CBV designation has since become the “gold standard” among credentials for business valuation. CA Magazine has called it “One of Sexiest Careers in Finance,” and as the field sees rapid growth, CBV is becoming the premiere credential for professional business valuators and litigation support advisors in Canada.
A look at the industry shows that more and more banks, government agencies, accounting firms, investors, and even courts rely on Chartered Business Valuators to navigate the complexities of financial assets, liabilities, and market forecasts to peg the value of a business, and the job market shows it. Employers like Fuller Landau, MNP, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton, and Deloitte have opened positions for professionals with CBV credentials.
But is the CBV designation right for you? That’s the question we tackle in this article.
What is a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV)?
Chartered Business Valuators are valuation specialists trained to assess and value both private and public firms by quantifying profitability, tangible and intangible assets, and future cash flows. Using a variety of valuation methodologies, Chartered Business Valuators examine the “total picture” of a business, taking into account capital, intellectual property, brand value, employees, management, past performance, profitability, market expectations, and more to arrive at a conclusion.
The expertise of Chartered Business Valuators is sought in a wide range of areas. Examples include the sale or purchase of a business; mergers and acquisitions; corporate restructuring; tax, estate and succession planning; and in legal cases like shareholder disputes, intellectual property disputes, insurance and personal injury claims, and even disputes over assets in a divorce. Business valuators must then demonstrate expertise in communication by being able to explain their approach, methodology, and opinions in a manner that’s easy to understand.
Today’s CBVs stem from a wide range of backgrounds that include accounting, commerce, law and economics. Many also hold financial accounting designations such as Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified General Accountant (CGA), and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Why Is the Business Valuation Field Growing?
As large number of baby boomers retire, an unparalleled intergenerational transfer of wealth is occurring. Baby boomer businesses must be valued for either sale or passing down to the next generation and that often involves complex tax strategies such as estate freezes.
The start-up craze is another such factor. More and more millennials are taking the entrepreneurial route and our society’s love of start-ups means more of those entrepreneurs are getting funding and seeing success. That means more new businesses need to be valued to attract investors, go public or find a buyer.
Increasing divorce rates in North America are also helping the designation of CBV take hold. As more divorces go through the courts, Chartered Business Valuators are called upon to assess the value of business holdings and help settle matrimonial disputes. In a 2018 article from the Globe and Mail, 25-year CBV veteran Tom McCallum summed up the state of the profession by saying that the rise in entrepreneurship combined with an increasing divorce rate has "laid the groundwork for a field ripe for the picking".
How Does the CBV Fare Against Other Designations?
Another factor that has granted the profession a higher standing of credibility is the favour it has gained with our judicial system. A recent study reviewed court cases in Canada involving business valuation over a 15-year period to find out if the CBV designation was all it’s cracked up to be. The study found that the CBV designation was the “norm” in court cases dealing with business valuation matters and that those with the CBV designation were considered by the court to have a “tremendous ability to make useful contributions to the court in terms of assessing financial loss or business value.” Examining how expert witnesses with the CBV designation fared against other finance professionals in court, the study also found that CBV wins. In cases where one valuation expert possessed a CBV designation and the other did not, the court tended to accept evidence from the expert with a CBV designation more often.
What It Takes to Become A CBV
To obtain the CBV designation, you must pass the Membership Qualification Exam (MQE) administered by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators (CICBV). The CICBV recently partnered with McGill University's School of Continuing Studies to offer a new non-credit Professional Development Certificate in Business Valuation, the only program of its kind in Canada.
Designed according to the educational requirements of the CICBV, courses are taught by experienced business valuators with the aim of equipping students with sound working knowledge of business valuation theory and practice that prepares them to take the MQE. As most students seeking their CBV designation are working professionals, the program offers evening and weekend classes in the heart of downtown Montreal.