By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
There has always been a talent shortage in BV. It’s connected to the fact that BV is a business of judgment, and too many young professionals leave before they get the experience that leads to that judgment. Is there a fix?
The demand/supply ratio in BV has never been 2:1, but it has been at least 3:2. The only time demand and supply were close to balance was during the recession in 2008. Even so, terminations usually didn’t touch the good performers.
There has never been a shortage of people who want to get into BV, only a shortage of people who stay in it. BV looks attractive to many people, and they discover too often—and after an expensive investment of time and training—that they don’t like it as much as they thought.
This misunderstanding, this mismatch of expectations, is a problem that can be attacked by exposing students to BV at the collegiate level. The goal is to bring people into the labor force who are “self-selected” for the profession.
This is a long-term challenge that goes beyond individual classroom visits and internships, and it requires a collective effort. Fortunately, there are models in place at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The Big 4 accounting firms have partnered with Owen Graduate School at Vanderbilt University in developing a MAccVal program with a twelve-month curriculum. Enrollment is kept small (about a dozen annually) so admission standards can be kept high, and students get personalized attention. The small registration also means that 100% have firm job offers at graduation.
Florida University Southeast has recently begun a Master of Business Valuation (MBV) program with an eighteen-month curriculum with an online, distance learning approach.
Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, has developed an extra-curricular Valuation Club for interested Finance undergrads. During meeting times, the faculty advisor delivers the content of the BV201 – BV204 courses from the ASA. Students sit for the relevant exam and have graduated with BV204 in hand upon completing the course work.
Though the BV talent shortage will be challenging to solve, these programs are a start. Success will require a collaborative effort from all the stakeholders, however, if the profession is going to move the needle on this problem.