ABV Credential Eligibility Expanded to Qualified Finance Professionals

May 25, 2018

Valuation is a growth area for firms in advisory services, and it’s relevant to a broad population of accounting and finance professionals. To meet the needs of our members and their firms, and to raise awareness of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential and the prominence of ABV credential holders, AICPA Council voted unanimously on May 22, 2018 to extend eligibility to qualified finance professionals.

The archive to this hour-long webcast provides additional information on the business valuation landscape and the ABV credential.

Our webcast "The Changing Landscape of Business Valuation” attracted a number of questions from participants. We have categorized these questions and their answers in the document linked here (PDF).

Letter on the ABV Credential from AICPA

Q: What is the ABV credential?

A: The Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential is offered to CPAs and finance professionals who practice business valuation in areas such as tax, litigation, financial reporting, transactions and ESOPs.

Q: What are the benefits of being an ABV credential holder?

A: Clients and potential clients can trust that ABV credential holders have the competencies to provide premier valuation services. Credential holders have access to a community of valuation professionals with similar interests and practices. The AICPA offers ABV credential holders free membership to the FVS Section which includes practice aids, webcasts, newsletters, discounts on continuing professional development and more.

Q: What are the current eligibility requirements for CPAs?

A: CPAs are required to obtain 75 hours of valuation-related education, complete 150 hours of business valuation work experience and pass the ABV Examination. The AICPA offers a variety of options for obtaining valuation-related education. All ABV credential holders are required to complete 20 hours of continuing professional development within the credential body of knowledge annually and comply with the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and Statements on Standards for Valuation Services (VS section 100).

Q: What are the new eligibility requirements the AICPA recently approved, and who will be eligible?

A: Finance professionals will be required to hold a college degree, complete 75 hours of valuation-related education, complete 1,500 hours of business valuation work experience and pass the ABV Examination. Finance professionals will also be required to complete a training program on the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and Statements on Standards for Valuation Services (VS Section 100). All ABV credential holders are required to complete 20 hours of continuing professional development within the credential body of knowledge annually and comply with the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct and VS section 100. The eligibility requirements for CPAs (above) were not changed.

Q: Why was the new eligibility approved?

A: Expanding eligibility for the ABV credential helps to promote consistency, quality and transparency in the valuation marketplace. CPA led-firms are looking for a single organization that can provide appropriate training, credentialing and ongoing support for all their employees, including both CPAs and finance professionals. With this additional eligibility, both CPAs and financial professionals will follow the same professional ethics and valuation standards as they perform business valuations, helping firms to manage risk and provide reliable service to clients.

Q: What was the process that resulted in expanding ABV credential eligibility? Which member bodies were involved?

A: The proposal to expand ABV credential eligibility received support* from the AICPA governing Council, AICPA Board of Directors, National Accreditation Commission (NAC), ABV Credential Committee, Business Valuations Committee and FVS Executive Committee. The following timeline provides a summary of key actions leading up to the decision, each step taken and shows the multi-year process that involved many members and their respective member bodies. 

  • October 2017 - NAC votes in favor of having Council approve establishing a pathway for other qualified professionals for the ABV credential
  • January 2018 - AICPA Board of Directors provided with an overview of the strategic need to open up the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential to other qualified professionals
  • February 2018 - ABV Credential Committee votes unanimously in favor of proposed eligibility requirements for other qualified professionals
  • March 2018 - At regional meetings, Council informed about the proposal to open the ABV to other qualified professionals, asked to share questions and provide feedback, and is informed that a vote will be taken in May
    • New York
    • Chicago
    • Los Angeles
    • Dallas
  • April 2018 - NAC votes unanimously in favor of the ABV Credential Committee’s recommended entry requirements for other qualified professionals
  • April 2018 - AICPA Board of Directors approves submitting the recommendation and resolution to open the ABV credential up to other qualified professionals to AICPA governing Council 
  • May 2018 - AICPA governing Council votes unanimously in favor of adopting resolution to open ABV credential up to other qualified professionals
  • July 2018 - Current National Accreditation Commission, ABV Credential Committee, BV Committee and FVS Executive Committee repolled and reconfirmed support for opening ABV Credential to other qualified professionals

* Support does not necessarily mean unanimous support, but in all situations, there was support from the majority or supermajority.