A Guide to Small Business Valuations: Essential Documents and Context to Provide
When it comes to small business valuations, solicitors and accountants play a vital role in facilitating accurate assessments. To ensure a smooth and efficient valuation process, it is essential to provide the necessary documents and context upfront. In this article, I outline the key information that solicitors and accountants should gather and share when seeking small business valuations. By following this checklist and providing complete information from the outset, you can help expedite the valuation process and ensure accurate results.
1. Background Information:
Begin by providing a detailed overview of the business, including its history, nature of operations, and the reason for the valuation. Understanding the purpose behind the valuation is crucial as it helps determine the appropriate valuation methodology and the factors to consider during the assessment. Whether the business is being sold, seeking investment, or required for Family Law proceedings, providing this context is essential for a comprehensive valuation.
2. Financial Data:
Accurate financial information is the cornerstone of any business valuation. It is vital to provide at least three years’ worth of financial statements, including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, and current management accounts.
3. Depreciation Schedules and Asset Registers:
Include a comprehensive depreciation schedule and asset register detailing all significant assets owned by the business. This information is crucial for assessing the company’s asset value accurately. Ensure that the schedules and registers provide details such as asset descriptions, purchase dates, original cost, useful life, and any relevant depreciation method employed. Also if any of the assets are not to be valued should be mentioned.
4. Tax Returns and Filings:
Include copies of the business’s tax returns for the past three years, along with any supporting schedules and filings. This includes income tax returns, corporate tax returns, and BAS returns post the latest available annual accounts. So, for example, since it is now May, the last 3 BAS returns. Providing these documents will help the valuator understand the tax positions and obligations of the business, as well as how its performing to date, thereby enabling a more accurate valuation.
5. Legal and Regulatory Documents:
Compile all relevant legal and regulatory documents pertaining to the business. This may include shareholder agreements, partnership agreements, leases, contracts, licenses, permits, and any pending litigation or legal disputes. Such documents are essential for assessing the company’s legal standing, potential risks, and any factors that may impact its value. Also important is any ASIC searches you may have done and Trust Deeds.
6. Industry and Market Data:
6. Industry and Market Data: Whilst we will provide an industry overview, if there is anything your clients are aware of that might affect the valuation, please include that and other relevant data that can provide insights into the company's position. This is particularly true for technology-based businesses.
7. Business Operations and Processes:
Depending on the size of the business, document the business’s operational processes, including organizational charts, job descriptions, and details of key personnel. Providing this information helps the valuator assess the quality and sustainability of the company’s operations. Include information on major suppliers and customers, contracts or partnerships, as well as any intellectual property or proprietary assets that may impact the valuation.
Client lists, to demonstrate longevity are useful to add.
When seeking small business valuations, solicitors and accountants play a crucial role in providing comprehensive and accurate information. By following the checklist provided in this article, you can ensure that all necessary documents and context are provided upfront, facilitating a quick and efficient valuation process. Remember, the more complete and detailed the information, the more accurate the valuation will be. By working closely with experienced business valuers, and providing the required information at the outset, you can help your clients achieve fair and reliable valuations for their small businesses.