Find accounting schools near you

Accreditation in Business Valuation (ABV) Certification Information

Written by AnonymousJuly 29, 2011
Accreditation in Business Valuation®

If you’re looking to improve your career in accounting, obtaining an accounting certificate is an excellent first step. Accounting certifications can expand your accounting knowledge and increase your proficiency in a specific area of the accounting field.

Introduction to the Accreditation in Business Valuation (ABV) Certification

The Accreditation in Business Valuation® (ABV) program is designed for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) who provide business valuation services. Business valuations services assist in quantifying the value of assets, liabilities, or equity in situations including, but not limited to

  • Company mergers or acquisitions
  • Divorce settlements
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Valuation of patents or trademarks
  • Insurance defense of loss claims

ABV certification provides credential holders these benefits:

  • An official mark of distinction and prestige: Coupled with a CPA certificate, an ABV Credential is a powerful recognition of your competence as a business valuation services professional.
  • Increased confidence from clients and employers: An ABV certification is evidence of your well-developed and knowledgeable business valuation skills.
  • Greater professional prospects: An ABV Credential can lead to a greater salary and can expand opportunities for professional referrals.
  • Access to a community of CPA valuation professionals: This professional community can provide personal and professional support through participation in conferences and seminars provide by the AICPA.

Key Steps to Accreditation in Business Valuation Certification

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) grants the ABV Credential to Certified Public Accountants who meet a specific set of requirements. In order to qualify for the credential, you must:

  • Hold a valid, unrevoked CPA certificate that has been issued by a legally constituted state authority.
  • Pass the ABV Examination.
  • Complete the ABV Credential application online and pay a credential fee ($350 as of 2011) after you pass the exam.
  • Sign a Declaration of Intent, which is an official document that states your desire to comply with the requirements of ABV recertification.

Details of the Accreditation in Business Valuation Examination

The ABV Examination is a computer-based test that lasts a total of six hours and 45 minutes, including a 45-minute break. The test is comprised of 220 questions — 180 discrete multiple choice questions and 40 case-study–related multiple choice questions. The exam is designed to test both your analytical skills and your understanding of valuation theory.

During the test, you’re allowed to access the International Glossary of Business Valuation Terms and Formulas & Variable Definitions via computer display provided to you during the exam.

The content of the exam breaks down in the following way:

  • 50-60 percent of the test is dedicated to Valuation Analysis
  • 20-25 percent of the test covers Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis
  • 15-30 percent of the test focuses on related topics, such as Professional Regulatory Standards and Defining the Engagement

In order to register for the exam, you’re required to pay a fee, which differs depending on what kind of registrant you are and whether you’re a member of a professional accounting organization.

New registrants, who’ve never registered for or taken the ABV Examination, pay different fees depending on their membership status. As of 2011, the fees are as follows:

  • Current Forensic and Valuation Services (FVS) members pay $300. 
  • Current AICPA members pay $400.
  • Non AICPA members pay $500.

Other possible fee scales:

  • Exam retake registrants, who have previously taken the exam but didn’t pass, pay $100
  • Deferral registrants, who registered for the exam but didn’t schedule or take the exam as planned, pay a fee of $100 to reregister.

CPAs that hold the Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) or Accredited Member (AM) credential, as granted by the American Society of Appraisers in Business Valuation, are deemed to have satisfied the examination requirement and can add the ABV designation if they meet the other key steps to certification (see above “Key Steps to Certification”).

After you pass the ABV Exam, you need to take some final steps to finish applying for the ABV credential:

  1. Download a copy of the ABV Credential application, found on the AICPA website within the ABV Credential Application Kit.
  2. Accumulate a total of 100 points, 50 of which are earned after you pass the exam.  The rest of the points are earned through business experience and lifelong learning, both of which are worth between 15 and 35 points.
  3. Pay the credential fee.

Preparing for the Accreditation in Business Valuation Test

The AICPA recommends that you prepare for the test by reviewing Content Specification Outline (CSO) materials (which are available online) — then apply this information to your practical experiences. 

The AICPA recommends that you take the test only if you’ve completed six business valuation projects or 150 hours of business valuation related work.

Aside from the Content Specification Outline, the AICPA provides numerous online resources to aid in preparing for the test. On their website, you can access the ABV Assessment Tool, which evaluates your strengths and weaknesses regarding test content. In addition, you have the option of taking an ABV Exam Review Course.

Maintaining the Accredited in Business Valuation® Designation

To maintain the credential, you must pay an annual fee, which, as of 2011, is $350. In addition, you’re required to meet the following requirements, all of which are regulated every three years. You must have

  • An AICPA membership in good standing
  • A valid and unrevoked CPA certificate issued by a legally constituted state authority
  • Electronic submission of a document attesting to your intent to comply with recertification requirements
  • Verification of at least 60 Lifelong Learning hours in the preceding three years

Authoring or publishing articles counts toward a maximum of 24 Lifelong Learning hours. Teaching a class or holding a lecture can count for up to 36 Lifelong Learning hours.

Governing Board Information

ABV Certification is provided by

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036