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Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, Capital Assist has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about business valuation, accounting, financing and transaction matters.

What is a CBV?

The Chartered Business Valuator (“CBV”) designation is the premier credential for professional business valuators and litigation support advisors in Canada. CBVs are financial professionals governed by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators (“CICBV”). The benefits of engaging a CBV are that he/she as the appropriate training and experience and must follow the professional standards and Code of Ethics set by the CICBV.

What is Fair Market Value ('FMV')?

Fair market value is defined as the highest price available in an open and unrestricted market between informed, prudent parties acting at arm’s length, neither party under any obligation to transact, expressed in terms of money or money’s worth.

The determination of fair market value is done in the context of a notional market, and therefore it considers conditions specific to the entities in question, industry and economy which may affect the associated profitability and risk of an investment therein.

It is important to understand that an arm’s length, third party purchaser may be willing to pay a price other than the fair market value. Only when an asset or business interest is exposed for sale, can the impact on “price” of arm’s length, third party purchaser synergies be quantified.

Without exposure to the market, we cannot be certain that the price that would be obtained in the open market would not be different than the fair market value.

What is a capitalization rate?

The capitalization rate is the rate of return required by a potential purchaser which reflects the risks, opportunities and returns associated with the projected maintainable cash flows. When it is expressed as an absolute number, its inverse is referred to as the multiplier (e.g. 12% rate is equal to a capitalization multiple of 8.3).

What is leverage?

Leverage is that amount of debt that a company would reasonably expect to obtain from creditors or investors to maximize returns available to equity investors.

Are there different types of valuation reports?

As set out in the Practice Standards of the Institute of Chartered Business Valuators in Canada, there are three types of valuation reports: (a) comprehensive valuation report; (b) estimate valuation report and (c) valuation calculation report. The reports differ on the valuator’s scope of review, the amount of disclosure provided, and the level of assurance being provided in the conclusion. A comprehensive valuation report provides the highest assurance and the valuation calculation report provides the lowest.

What are the common approaches to determining the value of a business interest?

There are three basic generally accepted approaches to valuing a business which include the income approach, asset approach and market approach.

The value of the business will vary based on the type of company, approach adopted, timing and risk associated with the business, industry, and investment. Valuation requires objectivity and independence.

As an independent advisory firm, we offer the accredited valuation expertise, professionalism, and objectivity essential to arrive at an appropriate indication of value.

Do I need to prepare financial projections for my business?

Banks, lenders and investors will require detailed financial projections which support the business strategies. A common oversight by companies seeking financing is that a complete set of financial statements (i.e. income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement) should be prepared.

Ideally, the financial model will be constructed monthly, allowing investors to assess details of a ramp-up period for revenues and corresponding projected expenses. Without a proforma balance sheet, it is difficult for an investor to assess the working capital requirements of the company, taking into consideration cash constraints during growth stages.

Ultimately, investors will look to cash flow to measure their return. Cash flow statements highlight the capital requirements of the business including one-time and ongoing expenditures.

What are exit strategies?

An investor who is contemplating a private transaction will look for a clear course of action for liquidity of their equity investment. Liquidity generally comes through future rounds of financing, initial public offering, and strategic sale.

Sources of financing will have different expectations of timelines for liquidity or exit strategies based on their individual and/or corporate risk and return profiles. Investors will look for a well thought out exit strategy for a company in a plan and expect to divest its equity interest within 3 to 7 years.

What does an investor look for in a management team?

Investors are looking for management’s passion, ability to execute and ‘investment’ in their business. A proven track record of transforming business ideas into highly successful companies is a key strategic advantage to securing the sought-after capital for growth. A well-rounded and experienced management team will instill confidence in the investor that a return on their investment will be achieved.

What are the benefits of engaging a financial advisors?

A financial advisor will provide the expertise to manage and direct transaction processes and improve the effectiveness of a financial transaction.

You can leverage the financial advisor’s expertise to manage the transaction process allowing you to focus on the performance of the business, building business value, and creating a return for all stakeholders.

At Capital Assist, we offer our clients the knowledge and transaction expertise to successfully meet your financial objectives.

What is the difference between financial audit and forensic audit?

A financial audit confirms that financial statements prepared by management “fairly” present the financial position of the company at the year-end (subject to materiality) and are prepared in accordance with the relevant accounting standards. It does not analyze every transaction or look for instances of fraud.

A forensic audit is not limited by materiality and uses different techniques and approaches. While there may be some overlap (e.g. identification of internal control weaknesses), it is designed to detect fraudulent activity or irregularities.

Why is cash flow forecasting important for my business?

An income statement shows the company’s performance as a measure of revenues less its expenses, but business owners often complain that despite profits, they have limited “cash”. A company’s cash flows are the most critical component in decision making. It involves a deeper understanding and management of how cash is received and spent in an organization.

What is an audit engagement?

An audit engagement provides the highest-level assurance to users of the financial statements. Typically, an audit will require the auditors to obtain independent evidence, on a test basis, to verify that the underlying values of the company’s financial records are free of material misstatement. Auditors use a variety of methods to determine if the financial statements are free of material misstatement, including study and evaluation of internal controls, inspection of documents, physical counts of assets, making enquiries inside and outside the company, and other procedures that support the Canadian generally accepted auditing standards. On this type of engagement, the auditor will provide a positive assurance in the form of an auditor’s report that the financial statements are in accordance with Canadian accounting standards.

What is a review engagement?

A review engagement provides a moderate level of assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatements. Typically, accountants perform analytical review of the company’s underlying financial records to identify errors that would lead to material misstatement of the company’s financial statement. On this type of engagement, a professional accountant will provide a negative assurance noting that nothing has come to their attention that would indicate the financial information is not presented in accordance with Canadian accounting standards.

What is compilation engagement?

A compilation or otherwise known as a Notice to Reader engagement is simply a compiling of information into financial statements, based on information provided by their client. No assurance is provided. Therefore, a compilation is only appropriate where users do not need assurance that the financial information conforms in all respects to Canadian accounting standards.