Almost every top advisor in your market is trying to networkwith top attorneys and accountants, but there are other types ofprofessionals who can add expertise and referral-generating powerto your network, if you will just take the time to identify andmeet them.


For advisors who work with business owners or on estate planning cases,business appraisers can be a natural and valuable addition toprofessional networks. These professionals have specializedknowledge and skills in valuing closely-held private companies,using IRS-accepted techniques.


They also can be helpful in valuing charitable gifts, whenever atax-deduction of $5,000 or more is claimed for non-cashcontributions. They rarely compete directly with advisors whospecialize in investment and insurance.However, they are capable of referring wealthy clients with whomthey have worked, and also the attorneys and accountants of theseclients.


Focus your efforts on professionals who are qualified appraisersunder the Pension Protection Act based on education, experience,and a clean record with the IRS. Most appraisers who meet thisstandard have one or more of these professional designations:

  • Certified Business Appraiser (IBA), awarded by the Institute ofBusiness Appraisers since 1978

  • Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA), awarded by the AmericanSociety of Appraisers since 1981

  • Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), awarded by the AmericanInstitute of CPAs since 1997

  • Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), awarded by the NationalAssociation of Business Certified Valuation Analysts since 1999

Recommending a qualified appraiser to your business-owner orestate planning clients will give you an opportunity to evaluatethe appraiser’s work and begin building a relationship. You canstart by asking business-owner clients: “How much do you think yourbusiness is worth?”


Most owners will either admit they don’t know the answer orvolunteer a number far off the mark. A valuation engagement thenbecomes the catalyst for succession planning, which often unlockslarge investment and insurance cases. Typically, appraisers chargeabout $5,000 to $10,000 to produce a valuation for a closely-heldbusiness, with supporting documentation.


Appraisers often work on closely-held business or estateplanning/charitable gift cases. So, partnering with a professionalappraiser can be a key to teamwork and cross-referrals. For achecklist of questions to ask in interviewing business appraisers,look here.

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