When I began testifying, I looked for guidance, which I found in the booklet, “Testifying with Impact,” by a former professor and speech coach. Foremost, I learned the objective of testimony is not to read words or testify without notes, but to communicate thoughts, ideas, and knowledge. In this post, I reflect on the other simple but powerful lessons I learned from this booklet.
We continue with our discussion of getting command of the numbers by discussing income statement adjustments. Normalizing adjustments are made in valuations to separate unusual or non-recurring or management discretionary items of income or expense on the income statement. The objective of normalizing adjustments is to develop historical, adjusted income statements and percentage income statements that can be used in the valuation process.
The following ten comments should provide a good overview of the concept of income statement (normalizing) adjustments for business appraisers and for attorneys.
We continue the series begun in the previous post based on my long-ago staff memo regarding “The ABZs of Solid Valuation Conclusions and Reports.”
The most frequent and often embarrassing errors that occur in valuation reports are the result of obvious issues or elementary mistakes. This happens when appraisers fail to “get command of the numbers.” Based on years of experience, I’ve listed 10 things a business appraiser must do to get command of the numbers.
While I am speaking from the viewpoint of a business appraiser in this series, the information provided will be helpful to attorneys who deal in matters pertaining to valuation.
In this walk down memory lane, I share excerpts from a piece I originally wrote for business appraisers in 1989 and updated in the mid-1990s entitled “The ABZs of Solid Valuation Conclusions and Reports.” If you were in business in the 1990s, this post will bring back memories. If you were not, you might enjoy an inside look at the climate of the time. Either way, it’s a fun journey.
The first time I testified in court was in 1981, the year before I started Mercer Capital. I had participated in the preparation of a fairness opinion in a going private transaction while at Morgan Keegan, my employer at the time. A shareholder dissented, and the Chancery Court in Memphis was charged to determine the (statutory) fair value of the company’s shares in accordance with Tennessee statutory law and judicial interpretation. There has to be a first time for everything.
The moral compass at Volkswagen was evidently not set to true north. The easy way or the cheapest solution in the short run may well be the most difficult way and the most expensive in the long run. Let the example at Volkswagen be a call for all of us to reexamine our moral compasses, both as individuals and as those compasses get translated within our companies. Some of the best decisions are made when we simply say no to the easy road.