Business Valuation Credentials | Dictionary of Terms

When you need a business appraiser or an expert witness, you want to know that you are hiring the best qualified person. As business valuation professionals, we are committed to providing you with the highest levels of expertise available. We have completed rigorous education, training, testing and peer review to stand with the most competent, credible experts in the industry.

ABA professionals are often hired by attorneys to value a client’s business interest or to perform expert witness and litigation support services. Legal rules allow experts to testify in court, and it is estimated that 80% of civil cases employ experts. Whether you need general business appraisal, consulting or litigation services, you can expect that the expert you retain is truly qualified if they are an ABA member.

Our members belong to many professional organizations and hold numerous professional certifications. Each organization has its own ethics and recertification requirements. Most of the professional organizations require certified members to have a minimum number of continuing education hours over each recertification period.

As individuals, some of us hold multiple business valuation credentials. As a consortium, we hold more than 120 credentials, and there are over 25 different licenses/credentials that we hold. See the list below for a brief explanation of the initials you will see after our names.


Accredited in Business Appraisal Review — Institute of Business Appraisers

ABAR is a unique credential designed to provide a level of quality assurance to stakeholders in the business appraisal process. ABAR holders have participated in education which teaches an innovative paradigm for appraisal review and quality assurance, hold a recognized business valuation credential, and demonstrated their proficiency both through examination and a demonstration report subject to peer review.


Accredited in Business Valuation — American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

ABV is a business valuation credential granted to CPAs who have demonstrated skill, education and experience critical to performing business valuations. Current requirements for this credential include educational and experience requirements, and successfully completing a comprehensive valuation examination.


Accredited Senior Appraiser — American Society of Appraisers

ASA is granted in a number of disciplines. All disciplines require a minimum of five years of full-time appraisal experience, minimum educational requirements, and successfully demonstrating proficiency in a demonstration report subject to peer review. Many of the disciplines also require passing an examination. Among us are ASAs in business valuation, real estate, and appraisal review and management.


Business Certified Appraiser – International Society of Business Appraisers

BCA is a business valuation credential earned through extensive education, stringent testing, and demonstration of expertise in valuing a business by writing and successfully passing a demonstration report subject to peer review.


Business Valuator Accredited for Litigation — Institute of Business Appraisers

BVAL recognizes business appraisers who demonstrate their ability to competently present expert testimony that supports their objective conclusions reached in business valuation assignments. The requirements for this credential include holding a recognized business valuation credential, completing a five-day course, demonstrating competency in presentation and testimony and passing an examination.


Certified Business Appraiser — Institute of Business Appraisers

CBA is a business valuation credential granted to experienced business appraisers who have met educational requirements, passed a comprehensive exam and successfully demonstrated proficiency in two demonstration reports subject to peer review. Six of our members hold the Master Certified Business Appraiser (MCBA) certification, and two hold the Fellow of the Institute of Business Appraisers (FIBA) designation. Fellowship designations are earned for technical, institutional and professional contributions.


Chartered Financial Analyst — CFA Institute

CFA, an investment professional designation, is awarded to those who successfully complete a graduate-level program that combines a broad-based curriculum of investment principles, including valuation of equity securities, with professional conduct requirements.


Certified Fraud Examiner — Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

The CFE credential denotes proven expertise in fraud protection, detection and deterrence. Current requirements include meeting minimum academic and professional requirements, and passing a rigorous test on the four major disciplines that comprise the fraud examination body of knowledge.


Certified Forensic Financial Analyst — National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts

CFFA is awarded to practitioners who have demonstrated that they possess a level of experience and knowledge to provide competent and professional forensic financial support services. Candidates must satisfy both educational requirements and successfully demonstrate their abilities through a case study or samples of work product.


Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor — Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors

CM&AA is awarded to middle market corporate financial advisors who have mastered the M&A body of knowledge.


Certified Machinery & Equipment Appraiser — NEBB Institute

CMEA credential holders are experts at determining substantiated values for machinery and equipment. CMEAs must successfully complete an intensive training and pass a comprehensive written exam, as well as complete a demonstration report that is subject to peer review.


Certified Public Accountant

CPA is a license granted by each state to practice public accounting. Accountants must meet state education and/or experience requirements, and have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Most states require accountants be CPAs in order to prepare audited or reviewed financial statements.


Certified Valuation Analyst — National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts

CVA is a business valuation designation awarded to CPAs who have completed business valuation training and successfully completed rigorous testing. The testing requirement includes completing a valuation report case study.


Fellow, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

FRICS are RICS Members who are leaders in their field and have contributed to the profession. The Member-level (MRICS) designation is granted to candidates who usually have no less than ten years of relevant experience, and who demonstrate significant breadth and depth of technical and professional competence (e.g. real property and intangible asset valuation) through a written submission and one-hour interview. Every Member is expected to meet specific educational, professional and ethical standards. Reciprocal membership pathways may be available for individuals holding the MAI, ASA and or other appraisal designation from an organization with similar high-level requirements and standards. Members are accountable to a strict code of conduct.


Juris Doctor

JD is a professional degree granted to individuals who have successfully completed law school. Individuals who have earned this degree often have taken an examination (a “bar exam”) and met other requirements in order to become licensed in a particular state to practice law.


Member, Appraisal Institute

MAI is granted to appraisers who are experienced in the valuation and evaluation of real estate. In order to be admitted as a member to the Appraisal Institute, a candidate must pass rigorous education requirements, pass a comprehensive examination, meet experience requirements, and successfully demonstrate proficiency by submitting a demonstration appraisal report.


Mergers & Acquisitions Master Intermediary – International Business Brokers Association

M&AMI is granted to experienced, proven professionals and is the highest designation awarded by the International Business Brokers Association. There are 75 M&AMI’s worldwide.

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