ABV Credential Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Eligibility

  • What are the initial requirements to obtain the ABV credential?
  • Do I have to be a member of the AICPA to apply for the credential?
  • Do I need an active CPA license to practice public accounting to become a ABV?
  • Do I need to be an FVS Section member in order to apply to become a ABV credential holder?
  • If I don’t meet the requirements to become a ABV credential holder, is there another way to get information about business valuation?
  • What is the initial pricing for the ABV credential?


Valuation Experience

  • What are some examples of qualifying experience?
  • Does the analysis and work product of the candidate need to be reviewed by a CPA or ABV (or equivalent credential holder) in order to qualify to fulfill the experience requirement?


ABV Exam

  • Can I take the ABV Exam before I complete the education and experience requirements for the ABV credential?
  • After I complete the ABV Exam, how long do I have to apply for the credential?
  • What is the cost of the ABV Exam?
  • What is the duration of the ABV Exam?
  • Will formulas be provided during the exam?
  • Will calculators be admitted into the examination room?
  • Do I still receive any credit for having another business valuation credential?
  • How do I register and when will I be able to take the exam?
  • Where are the test centers located for the ABV Exam?
  • Do exam results include numerical scores or just pass/fail results?
  • How long is the grading process and when do exam candidates find out if they passed or failed?
  • What materials are recommended by the AICPA to study for the ABV Exam?
  • If a candidate only took the ABV Exam Review Course, how prepared would the candidate be to take the exam?
  • What is covered in the live ABV Exam Review Course? Do candidates complete practice tests/questions?
  • What is covered in the self-study ABV Exam Review Course? Do candidates complete practice tests/questions?


General

  • If I am a ABV, do I automatically become a member of the Forensic & Valuation Services Section?
  • I have applied for the ABV credential. What happens next?
  • Does the AICPA audit ABV applications?
  • How does the ABV credential differ from other business valuation credentials?


Recertification

  • What is required to maintain the ABV credential?
  • What is the annual renewal price for the ABV credential?
  • What if my job changes or other professional or personal circumstances preclude me from meeting the recertification requirements in a timely manner?
  • Under what conditions may a ABV credential holder request Inactive Status?
  • What is the effect of being on Inactive Status?
  • How do you restore Active Status after being on Inactive Status?
  • How do you determine if continuing professional education (CPE) is related?
  • When does the initial three-year period for recertification begin?


Use of the ABV Credential

  • What is the correct use of the ABV credential?
  • May I use the credential ABV by itself behind my name?
  • Can a firm include the credential "Accredited in Business Valuation" or "ABV" on its letterhead and in marketing materials?
  • If I am no longer a member of the AICPA, can I still use the ABV credential?

 

Eligibility

What are the initial requirements to obtain the ABV credential?
Please visit the eligibility requirements page to review the initial entry requirements.

Do I have to be a member of the AICPA to apply for the credential?
Yes. Only members in good standing with the AICPA can use the ABV credential. The ABV credential is granted exclusively by the AICPA. Join today.

Do I need an active CPA license to practice public accounting to become an ABV credential holder?
No. There are two pathways to the ABV credential. CPAs must hold a valid and unrevoked CPA license or certificate issued by a legally constituted state authority. Qualified finance professionals must hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, complete the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and Standards Education for Finance Professionals course and meet a higher business experience threshold.

Do I need to be an FVS Section member in order to apply to become an ABV credential holder?
No. You only need to be an AICPA member in good standing. However, FVS Section members are eligible for discounts on the ABV Exam and prep materials. ABV credential holders receive complimentary FVS Section membership.

If I don’t meet the requirements to become an ABV credential holder, is there another way to get information about business valuation?
Yes. You may join the FVS Section – the only requirement is AICPA membership in good standing. You may also contact an ABV Champion in your state or join the ABV Mentor Program.

What is the initial pricing for the ABV credential?
Current pricing is listed on the membership dues page.

Is there a pathway for university professors to obtain the ABV credential?
Yes. An instructor who has taught at least four accredited college courses covering at least 50% of the material included in the ABV Exam Content Specification Outline within the past 5 years is eligible. Download the ABV Handbook for more details.

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Valuation Experience

What are some examples of qualifying experience?
As long as valuation services performed by the analyst meet the definition of valuation services described under the Business Experience Requirement section of the ABV Handbook, the following examples qualify to fulfill the experience requirement:

  • Experience performing valuation services as an employee of a financial services firm that is not an accounting firm (i.e., a consulting firm, litigation support firm, private equity firm, investment bank, etc.)
  • Experience reviewing valuations as an auditor in a CPA firm
  • Experience performing valuation services as an employee of a reporting entity for fair value accounting measurement and disclosure
  • Experience performing valuation services for litigation and arbitration (including bankruptcy, commercial litigation, marital dissolution, etc.)
  • Experience performing valuation services as an employee of a private company for management planning (including acquisitions, divestitures, investment decisions, investment performance evaluation, etc.)

Does the analysis and work product of the candidate need to culminate in a written report as defined by AICPA Statement on Standards for Valuation Services No. 1 (VS Section 100)?
No. Experience which is exempt from the reporting requirements of VS Section 100 will qualify for the ABV credential if it meets the definition of valuation services described under the Business Experience Requirement section of the ABV Handbook.

Does the analysis and work product of the candidate need to be signed by the candidate or must the candidate be the signer of the report (if applicable)?
No. Candidates are not required to be the signer of analysis and work product as long as it meets the definition of valuation services described under the Business Experience Requirement section of the ABV Handbook.

Does the analysis and work product of the candidate need to be reviewed by a CPA, ABV credential holder or the equivalent to meet the experience requirement?
No. The analysis or work product does not need to be reviewed by another qualified CPA, ABV credential holder or the equivalent. The candidate would qualify as long as he/she has successfully completed the required level of experience stated in the Business Experience Requirement section of the ABV Handbook. However, the candidate should be aware that applications are selectively audited to ensure compliance with the ABV credential requirements.

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ABV Exam

Where can I find details about the ABV Exam including exam length, formulas and definitions, use of calculators, registration, scheduling, etc.?
Current policies are listed on the ABV Exam information page.

Can I take the ABV Exam before I complete the education and experience requirements for the ABV credential?
Yes. There is no time limit in terms of when you successfully complete the exam and when you apply for the ABV credential. However, when you do apply, only ABV-related education and experience in the last 5 years can be used to meet the education and experience requirements for the ABV credential.

After I complete the ABV Exam, how long do I have to apply for the credential?
You can apply for the credential any time after completing the ABV Exam. We would encourage you to apply as soon as you qualify.

What is the cost of the ABV Exam?
Current pricing is listed on the ABV Exam registration page.

Do I receive any credit for having another business valuation credential?
The exam requirement is waived for ASA or AM credential holders of the American Society of Appraisers, CFA credential holders of the CFA Institute and CBV credential holders of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators.

Are college/university students eligible to take the ABV Exam?
Yes, the AICPA offers business valuation resources for university professors and students. Students are encouraged to access FVS Section content and take the ABV Exam.

Do ABV Exam results include numerical scores or just pass/fail results?
Numerical score results are not included in result letters. The ABV Exam is designed to psychometrically assess whether candidates have a sufficient base level comprehension of the ABV Body of Knowledge. Therefore, results are issued as either “Pass” or “Fail” indicating whether the exam taker meets this minimum threshold. You must pass both test modules within 12 months after passing the first module (measured from the end of the exam window) to pass the ABV exam.

How long is the grading process and when do ABV Exam candidates find out if they passed or failed?
Pass/fail score results will be displayed onscreen immediately after completing your exam. A follow-up email with pass/fail score results will also be sent immediately

What materials are recommended by the AICPA to study for the ABV Exam?
Our recommendation is that test candidates do not solely rely upon one resource to prepare for the exam and that they utilize the numerous materials prescribed along the ABV Pathway. The following is a list of materials the AICPA recommends exam candidates utilize to fully prepare for the exam. NOTE: The level of preparation may vary by individual based upon the level of education and experience a candidate already has.

  • ABV Assessment Tool – serves as a preliminary means to gauge an individual’s level of familiarity with the BV body of knowledge (free)
  • Business Valuation School – intermediate level education course spanning 5 days targeted toward practitioners interested in creating or growing a business valuation discipline within their firms
  • ABV Examination Review Course – advanced level course available in self- or group-study targeting those areas that will be tested in the ABV Exam

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General

If I am an ABV credential holder, do I automatically become a member of the Forensic & Valuation Services Section?
Yes. All ABV credential holders are automatically enrolled as an FVS Section member, receiving all the benefits and information updates that membership includes.

I have applied for the ABV credential. What happens next?
Once documentation and payment have been submitted, the AICPA will review and issue a welcome letter if approved. At this time individuals may use the ABV credential in accordance with the rules of the state in which they practice. Members are not authorized to use the credential until they receive this notice. An ABV certificate will be mailed to the successful candidate. Note: In some cases, applicants may be required to provide additional information in support of their application.

Does the AICPA audit ABV credential applications?
Yes. A percentage of approved applications are selected for random audit. Any misrepresentations or incorrect information may result in disciplinary action, including suspension or revocation of ABV credential and/or eligibility.

How does the ABV credential differ from other business valuation credentials?
The ABV credential is granted exclusively by the AICPA to CPAs and qualified finance professionals who demonstrate considerable expertise in business valuation through their knowledge, skill, experience and adherence to professional standards. The ABV credential gives valuation professionals an edge and sets them apart from others by arming them with the tools and resources needed to provide the best service to their clients and employers. Visit the ABV Credential Benefits page for more information.

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Recertification
What is required to maintain the ABV credential?
Credential maintenance requirements are listed on the ABV recertification and reinstatement page.

What is the annual renewal price for the ABV credential?
Current pricing is listed on the membership dues page.

What happens if my job changes or other professional or personal circumstances preclude me from meeting the recertification requirements in a timely manner?
If recertification requirements are not met within the specified time, your ABV credential will be revoked.

Under what conditions may an ABV credential holder request inactive status?
The ABV credential does not have an inactive status.

How do you reinstate a lapsed or revoked ABV credential?
Complete and return the ABV Credential Reinstatement Application. Reinstatement applicants must be current on the education requirement to be reinstated. Reinstatement applicants do not need to re-qualify for the examination and experience requirements.

How do you determine if continuing professional education (CPE) is related?
Related CPE adds to the credential holder's knowledge, understanding and skills to perform valuation engagements. The ABV Credential Committee has provided an outline of suggested CPE topics that are directly related to the conduct of a valuation engagement and are considered to be part of the required body of knowledge for the ABV credential holder.

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Use of the ABV Credential

What is the correct use of the ABV credential?
The use of "ABV" on letterheads, business cards and other marketing materials by CPAs is governed by the rules of the board of accountancy in the state(s) in which you practice. The AICPA does not currently have a prescribed format for the credential.

Most state accountancy laws are currently silent on whether CPAs can use the specialty credential. In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Ibanez case, which held that states couldn't prohibit a CPA from using a specialty credential, such as the ABV credential, unless there is factual proof of real or potential harm. If you check with your state board and run into a problem in using the credential, e-mail us at abv@aicpa.org.

May I use the ABV credential by itself behind my name?
Under the AICPA's Code of Professional Conduct, utilizing the credential by itself would not cause a member to be in violation of Rule 102—Integrity and Objectivity (misrepresenting facts) or Rule 502—Advertising or Solicitation. Please check with your state board of accountancy as state accountancy rules may impose other restrictions (if applicable).

Can a firm include "Accredited in Business Valuation" or "ABV" on its letterhead and in marketing materials?
The ABV is an individual credential and not a firm credential. However, it is permissible under AICPA Ethics Rule 502 for a firm to hold itself out as Accredited in Business Valuation and to use the ABV credential on its letterhead and in marketing materials only if all partners or shareholders of the firm currently have the ABV credential. An individual member who holds the credential may use it after his or her name. CPA firms, please check with your state board of accountancy as state accountancy rules may impose other restrictions (if applicable).

If I am no longer a member of the AICPA, can I still use the ABV credential?
No. If your AICPA membership is terminated, you will no longer be able to use the ABV credential.A.

 

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