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Groups unveil valuation credential to aid financial reporting

Tammy Whitehouse | January 20, 2017

As policy makers continue to ponder how to get better valuation information into the financial reporting supply chain, the valuation profession is raising the bar on how intangible assets should be valued and documented.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Society of Appraisers, and the more global Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors have teamed up to roll out a new credential — Certified in Entity and Intangible Valuations — to establish more uniform guidance on how to document fair value measurements for entity and intangible asset valuations. The guidance defines the level of documentation needed to help auditors, investors, and regulators better understand how fair value measurement is used to determine values in businesses and in intangible assets.

Intangible assets include trademarks, patents, customer lists, non-compete agreements, patents, brand names, and other similar assets that are not as easily valued or traded in open markets as tangible assets. Generally, companies do not value and record in financial statements their intangible assets unless they were obtained in the context of a business combination, such as a merger or acquisition.

The use of fair value in financial statements has exploded over the past two decades as accounting standards have moved to give investors more current information based on market values rather than the historical costs companies might have incurred to acquire assets. There’s still no provision, however, for companies to establish values for intangible assets that are developed and grown internally, until or unless they change hands in a business combination. And even then, that accounting is complex and difficult, with standard setters recently rolling back the requirements for how to value goodwill on a go-foward basis after a transaction occurs.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has called on the valuation profession to raise its game in providing more consistent, reliable approaches to valuation because of how important it has become in financial reporting, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has called on auditors to dig more deeply into fair value measurements and related documentation.

AICPA, ASA and RICS began collaborating in 2013 to develop one credential that provides a consistent framework around fair value measurement. The CEIV credential is meant to assure that those performing fair value measurements have the right training, qualifications, experience, and expertise to do the job. The credential also is meant to promote consistency in the valuation process across global markets.

In addition to the three organizations rolling out the credential, the Appraisal Foundation and the International Valuation Standards Council had a hand in helping develop the new eligibility requirements. To qualify for the CEIV credential, valuation professionals will have to complete training and assessments and pass a two-part exam that will become available early in 2017.