Nick Talbot speaks to Mary Jane Andrews, President and CEO of the Canadian Institue of Chartered Business Valuators, about her experience working as a valuation professional, and her views on challenges and opportunities for the profession.
Nick Talbot: Tell us a little bit about yourself and any Valuation Professional Organisation you belong to.
Mary Jane Andrews: I was born in Halifax, Canada and have spent most of my professional career in Nova Scotia’s largest city. I earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and attained my CPA designation from CPA Nova Scotia (Chartered Professional Accountants of Nova Scotia) in 1976. Always interested in expanding my skill set and broadening my expertise, I went on to earn my CBV (Chartered Business Valuator) designation in 1988 from the CICBV (Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators), became a designated specialist in investigative forensic accounting from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants and am now certified in financial forensics (CFF) by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). I was awarded a Fellow by CPA Nova Scotia and the CICBV.
I joined KPMG in the late ‘70s and became a partner at KPMG in 1986. I specialized in income tax for 20 years and then moved to KPMG’s Advisory Services where I specialized in business valuations and forensic accounting as the leader of KPMG’s Advisory Practice in Atlantic Canada until my retirement in September 2015.
I am a passionate advocate for the role played by the valuation profession. I served for seven years as a board member and a past chair of the CICBV and four years as a board member and a past chair of the International Institute of Business Valuers (iiBV). I was a member of the iiBV’s Task Force for international accreditation in business valuation. I was appointed as Technical Advisor to the IVSC’s Professional Board until its cessation, where I had the great privilege of working with its members on the drafting of what was called the International Professional Standards.
I was active in my home community as well, having served on the boards of Downtown Halifax Business Commission, the Nova Scotia Hospital and the Cole Harbour Minor Hockey Association, to name a few.
NT: What organisation do you work for?
MJA: I am delighted to say I have just celebrated my one year anniversary as President & CEO of the CICBV, which is based in Toronto. It is incredibly exciting and a pinnacle of my career to be able to lead this visionary VPO in setting the pace and agenda for excellence in our valuation profession in Canada and around the world. We have our sights set on a new dimension of professional opportunity, as the breadth and depth of analysis from CBVs is recognized as the essential element of informed business decision making. It is wonderful for me to be at the forefront to lead that future.
NT: How many valuation professionals work in your organisation and what areas of valuation are they involved in?
MJA: At the CICBV, I work with a talented team of seven dedicated individuals who work diligently and passionately to serve all touch points of member, student and the public interests. We also have an army of volunteers working with us on our Board of Directors, Committees and Task Forces.
We have over 1,800 accredited members and close to 900 students in our comprehensive program of studies.
The range of expertise of our CBVs is really quite amazing. It includes a broad portfolio of activities including: determining the value of businesses and intangible assets and liabilities; quantification of economic losses; mergers, acquisition and divestitures; strategic, financing and business integration activities in support of deals; identification of value opportunities and business risk; investment analysis; and development, review and audit of financial models for a multitude of purposes. In addition, a number of our members hold senior management positions in corporate Canada. I think this range of expertise also speaks to the powerful contribution our CBVs are making to business – from corporate leadership functions to the way valuation practice is now being applied to inform business decisions from the ‘top-down’.
NT: What are the main markets that you work in?
MJA: Our members and students work in markets all across Canada, with the largest concentrations in Canada’s largest cities. Over 100 of our members work outside of Canada. We also have students from around the globe registered in our program of studies.
NT: How are you and your organisation involved with the IVSC and International Valuation Standards?
MJA:The CICBV became a member and sponsor of the IVSC in 2006 and a number of CBVs have served on the IVSC Boards and Advisory Forum over the years and still do.
I first became interested in the IVSC in discussions with my KPMG colleague, Brad Dalgliesh, who served on the Board of the Trustees of the IVSC after the first restructuring. Those conversations ultimately led me to an appointment as the Technical Advisor to the IVSC’s Professional Board.
NT: What trends in valuation are you seeing at the moment?
MJA: I see a trend in increasing collaboration among the VPOs and compatible professional organizations in an effort to strengthen the professional competence of their members and address deficiencies that exist in many markets. While we all have our particular areas of expertise, there is an area of commonality that we can leverage to elevate the stature of our organizations.
NT: What are the key challenges you face relating to valuation?
MJA: Our profession is subject to increased scrutiny, not only from regulatory bodies but from the public at large which is why we are relentless about upholding our profession in Canada to the highest possible standards of valuation practice and education. We are committed to professional excellence.
We need to engage with the stakeholders in our valuation ecosystem on a regular basis to ensure we are meeting our stakeholders’ needs and that our actions as a VPO are informed and balanced.
Business is complex and ever evolving in our globally-connected and rapidly changing business world. We are committed that our members receive relevant, quality, continuing professional development programs on a timely basis. Our members must always be at the forefront of change as it happens, so it is our ongoing responsibility that we are always evolving our high standards to keep raising the bar.
While we have a responsibility to assist with the development of the global valuation profession, we also have an opportunity to learn from the emerging and developing VPOs who are leveraging leading practices. We are always challenging ourselves be open to change.
Member engagement is a key priority for us. At the CICBV, we believe that building a network of exchange with our members is integral to building a new dimension of professional opportunity for the profession. You might even say that promoting the profession and supporting our members are ‘two sides of the same coin’. As the CICBV grows, we want to fuel demand for CBVs and open doors for career advancement as well.
NT: What opportunities do you think the valuation profession has over the next few years?
MJA: There are tremendous opportunities for the valuation profession in the next few years. I believe that we are on the eve of unification in international standards and professional valuer competence as we converge to a global valuation profession. That is why the mission of the IVSC is so important. We need one international voice that works to reduce international differences. Being part of a strong globally recognized profession is a benefit to all VPOs.
NT: How would you like to see the valuation profession evolve over the next few years?
MJA: There continues to be diversity in professional standards which leads to inconsistent valuation outcomes and an array of credentials which creates market confusion. There is a proverb that says “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. The reality is that a failure or a problem in one jurisdiction impacts the credibility of the entire valuation profession. I would like to see the identification of professional valuation competence through an international credential that symbolizes uniform high standards that would reasonably be expected by users of valuation services.
NT: What are your interests outside of valuation?
MJA: I truly enjoy spending time with my family and friends. My favourite interests are golfing in the summer and music all year round. I have played the guitar for a long time and have recently started playing the piano. I now have my sights on the banjo and fiddle!