John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker LLC
Valuation has spread so far across the US, it’s hard to find a city of any size where no one is doing it. BV professionals should also know that career opportunities exist internationally.
James Herr’s career took him to Moscow, where he has been with KPMG since January 2009. We sat down with him at the recent ASA Advanced BV Conference in Chicago to hear what it’s like to be an ex-pat in valuation.
Herr’s connection to Russia dates to having studied the language in his undergrad program at BYU. He went to Moscow on a study-abroad program, and later traveled to Novosibirsk for additional study. His aim had long been to find a way to link his interest in Russia with his interests in business and finance. Valuation eventually provided that link.
The sense of connection is special to him, Herr says, but not necessary for others. The key commonality among successful valuation ex-pats? A sense of adventure.
At just under 12 million people, Moscow is a big city. Not only does it offer great nightlife and social activity, it also has the wide-ranging cultural sights found in great world capitals: cathedrals, architecture, museums devoted to writers & poets, and parks.
Language facility is not strictly necessary, confirms Herr. Learning it will give you greater insight into the country and its people, not to mention make for better relationships with clients. Nearly all of them speak English, but are nonetheless impressed when spoken to in their native language.
Companies that hire ex-pats have services that make living in Moscow easier; starting with a counselor to help with assimilation. Language classes are available. Ex-pat networks are plentiful. Some apartment complexes (everyone lives in apartments) are filled with ex-pats.
Herr’s business valuation engagements fall into two broad categories. One is financial reporting type work driven by international accounting standards. The second is a “statutory” valuation which is similar to a fairness opinion except with unlimited liability.