Replacing a Hall of Famer

Mariano Rivera is the type of player than comes along maybe once in a generation.  New York Yankees fans know that their ideal game scenario is for the Yankees to hold the lead going into the ninth inning and for Number 42 to come to the mound.  Rivera's self-developed signature pitch, "the cutter", a mixture of fastball and slider, was ranked by ESPN as the greatest "out pitch" in baseball.  Rivera's calm demeanor, mental toughness leadership and consistency in garnering saves are why he is considered the greatest "closer" in the history of the game.   Combine this with his role in leading the Yankees to five World Series wins and it is obvious why Rivera is considered a guaranteed future Hall of Famer. 

But someday in the not too distant future, Rivera will be gone, and the next Yankee closer will have to step up to the mound.  I'll have a glimpse of what is going through the mind of that pitcher as I replace Eva Lang as the official business valuation blogger of the AccountingWEB Bloggers Crew.  Eva Lang was the first woman elected to the AICPA Business Valuation Hall of Fame.  Now unlike baseball, BV Hall of Famers are not retired, but in the prime of their careers.  Eva is very busy as Executive Director of the Financial Consulting Group, the largest alliance of business valuation firms and currently sits on the American Society of Appraisers Business Valuation Committee.  Anyone who knows Eva will agree that her unsurpassed knowledge of electronic business research and her leadership in the profession, combined with her Southern grace, make her a consummate BV professional. 

Now it is time to introduce myself, and tell you about my plans for this blog.  I started in the valuation business back in the days when the intangible assets in an acquisition were valued for tax purposes, and required both a definitive value and life to make them deductible.  The valuation profession became so skilled at this work that the IRS started to worry about a loss of tax revenue, and the then Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dan Rostenkowski, authored a bill that set a fixed 15 year tax amortization period for intangible assets.  With the Rostenkowski bill looming, I put my valuation skills in the service of M&A at a British investment bank, then worked in corporate development with an international corporation before returning to the formal valuation profession.  So I have seen the valuation profession from the viewpoint of other financial intermediaries and corporate clients, as well as marveled at the changes that have occurred over those years.  Business valuation has truly become a profession, with precision terminology (just look at the definition of "fair value"), recognized procedures, and professional standards from USPAP to SSVS1.

My view of this column is that it can provide a link between formal continuing professional education seminars, and the informal "shop" discussions that occur whenever two BV professionals get together.   We'll consider current professional issues, finance theory and accounting standards. My firm, like many, performs valuations for litigation, estate and gift tax, marital dissolution, purchase price allocation and financial reporting, and this column will reflect the breadth of this experience.  But one of the unique roles that this blog can have is to use the freedom of the blog format to consider issues not yet considered in detail by the formal valuation journals.  Whether it is the threat to the risk free rate, the difference between fair market value and the value to a financial buyer, or the valuation lessons that can be learned from Chinese microcaps, let's think about the new and unconventional with an open mind, and an emphasis on asking the right questions.

Now for the standard legal disclaimer (for the benefit of any attorneys who may research this site for ammunition to use against me in cross examination!)  This blog does not reflect the official opinion of my firm on any particular valuation topic.  Nor does it state valuation procedures that should be considered in all cases.  Each business valuation is unique to its particular facts and circumstances, and the relevance of any topic to those circumstances depends on the scope of the engagement and the professional judgment of the valuation analyst.

Well, that is enough of the warm-up pitches.  The coach just signaled to the bullpen and it is time to head out to the pitcher's mound.  See you next column as we get to work.

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Raymond J. ("RJ") Dragon MBA, MS, ASA, CFFA is a Principal in Citrin Cooperman's Valuation & Forensic Services practice in the New Jersey / New York City area.  His work encompasses valuations for litigation support, marital dissolution, shareholder disputes, estate and gift tax, intangible asset valuation, purchase price allocation and financial reporting.

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