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Business Valuation Vs Business Appraisal

Garry Stephensen

Article Author: Garry Stephensen
Position: Managing Director
Read time: 5 mins

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Business Valuation Vs Business Appraisal. What's the difference?

Understanding the nuanced difference between business valuations and business appraisals is crucial, especially when contemplating buying or selling a business.

This article looks at the differences between these two assessment techniques commonly employed by business brokers such as Lloyds, shedding light on their methodologies, accuracy, and implications for stakeholders.

In short, think of a Business Appraisal as a draft Business Valuation. Appraisals are the "Diet Cola" to Business Valuation's "Classic Formula".  Find out more below.

Business Valuation Vs Business Appraisal. What's the difference?

Business Appraisals

A business appraisal entails estimating the potential selling price of a business at a specific moment. Typically, it relies on a basic evaluation of the business, primarily based on its normalized profit over recent years. The normalized profit, expressed as EBITDA adjusted for non-recurring items, serves as the foundation for applying a "multiple" or return on investment to derive the appraised value. The choice of the time period for profit assessment is influenced by the business's stability and growth patterns. In cases of asset-rich businesses, the written down value of fixed assets is added to the appraisal. Notably, any broker, irrespective of qualifications or experience, can conduct an appraisal.

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What is EBITDA?

EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It is a financial metric that provides a snapshot of a company's operational profitability by excluding certain non-operating expenses. EBITDA is often used as a measure of a company's core operating performance, making it a useful tool for assessing its ability to generate cash flow from its primary business activities.

The formula for calculating EBITDA is as follows:

[ EBITDA = Net,Income + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortization ]

Here's a breakdown of each component:

  1. Net Income: This is the company's total earnings or profit after deducting all expenses, including operating expenses, interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

  2. Interest: Represents the interest expense on the company's outstanding debt. Including this in EBITDA helps in assessing the company's operational performance without the influence of its capital structure.

  3. Taxes: Refers to the income taxes paid by the company. Excluding taxes from EBITDA provides a clearer picture of operating profitability, as tax rates can vary and are influenced by non-operating activities.

  4. Depreciation: Represents the allocation of the cost of tangible assets over their useful lives. Since depreciation is a non-cash expense, adding it back to EBITDA reflects the company's ability to generate cash without the impact of this accounting measure.

  5. Amortization: Similar to depreciation but specifically applies to intangible assets (such as patents or trademarks). Like depreciation, adding back amortization to EBITDA eliminates the impact of this non-cash expense.

By excluding interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, EBITDA provides a more focused view of a company's operating performance and cash-generating potential. It is important to note that while EBITDA is a useful metric for certain purposes, it has limitations. For example, it does not account for changes in working capital, capital expenditures, or the cash required to service debt. Therefore, it is often used in conjunction with other financial metrics to provide a more comprehensive analysis of a company's financial health.

Business Valuations

By contrast, business valuations are an intricate and exhaustive process. This method scrutinizes the trading history of the business, requiring a comprehensive analysis conducted solely by qualified business valuers - a prerequisite for acceptance by Australian courts. Valuers, having completed recognized courses and obtained relevant qualifications, embark on an exhaustive exploration of the business's financial landscape.

Valuation Formula

Valuers, after assessing statutory reports and balance sheets, turn to market evidence. This entails analyzing multiples of earnings, rates of return, and capitalization rates prevalent in the market. Integrating this market intelligence, valuers use a formula to determine the business's value by factoring in profit and capitalization rates, providing a well-rounded and informed assessment.

The Balance Sheet's Integral Role
A critical aspect often overlooked in appraisals is the comprehensive consideration of the balance sheet. This financial document provides insights into stock levels, employee entitlements, and essential working capital requirements for daily operations. It also discloses the business's financial health concerning payments to third parties, obligations to creditors, the Tax Office, and lenders—a crucial facet affecting the overall value.

Components of a Valuation
The valuation process delves into the underlying narratives behind each expense, necessitating extensive investigation. Evaluating income and gross profit involves assessing changes in profit margins and revenue, examining the impact of pricing strategies and advertising on the bottom line. Valuers meticulously scrutinize wage and occupancy costs, benchmarking them against industry standards. Compliance with legal and best practice requirements is ensured, with a focus on identifying extraordinary income or expenses that may influence the business's value.

Regular Valuations

Beyond the transactional context, regular business valuations are advocated, not just during sale preparations. Understanding the business's value serves as a strategic tool for ongoing analysis, pinpointing areas for improvement and aiding in informed decision-making.

In conclusion, while both business valuation and appraisal play pivotal roles in the Australian business landscape, their methodologies, accuracy, and implications for stakeholders differ significantly. Recognizing these disparities is essential for businesses navigating the complexities of transactions and seeking to enhance their strategic positioning in the market.

Business Broker - Garry Stephensen

Managing Director
Business Broker - Karen Dado

Director NSW
Business Broker - Geoffrey Tulett

Lloyds Corporate Partner - Mergers & Acquisition Specialist
Business Broker - Edward Alder

Director Victoria
Business Broker - Kevin L Sutherland

Director International Business Sales
Business Broker - Dianne Reynolds

Research Director and Corporate Broker

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