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  • Robert Hulet, CBA, CVA

Understanding the Timeline: How Long Does it Take to Get a Business Valuation or Appraisal?

How long to get a business valuation or appraisal

When it comes to assessing the worth of a business, whether for sale, shareholder buyout, marital dissolution, settling an estate, investment, or strategic planning purposes, one of the first questions that arises is, "How long will this take?" The process of obtaining a business valuation or appraisal involves several steps, each with its own timeline considerations. Here are the factors influencing the duration of the valuation process:

1. Complexity of the Business: The nature and complexity of the business heavily influence the timeline for valuation. A small, simple business with straightforward financials may undergo a quicker assessment compared to a large corporation with intricate financial structures and multiple subsidiaries. A complex business often requires more extensive analysis, which naturally prolongs the valuation process.

2. Availability of Information: Access to comprehensive and accurate financial information is paramount for a thorough valuation. If the necessary documents, such as financial statements, tax returns, and operational data, are readily available, the valuation process can proceed more swiftly. However, delays may occur if obtaining these documents requires significant effort or if there are discrepancies that need clarification.  Responding quickly to the valuators document requests can greatly speed up the timeline.

3. Type of Valuation Methodology: There are various approaches to business valuation, including the income approach, market approach, and asset-based approach. The chosen methodology depends on factors such as the industry, company size, and purpose of the valuation. Some methods, like the income approach, may involve detailed financial projections, which can extend the timeline. Conversely, the market approach, which compares the business to similar companies, may require less time.

4. External Factors: External factors beyond the control of the valuator can impact the timeline. Economic conditions, industry trends, regulatory changes, and market volatility may necessitate additional analysis or adjustments to the valuation, thereby extending the overall duration; especially if detailed research is warranted.

5. Stakeholder Involvement: The involvement of stakeholders, such as owners, management, legal advisors, and potential buyers or investors, can affect the speed of the valuation process. Coordination among these parties for data gathering, review meetings, and decision-making can either expedite or delay the proceedings.  It is common for the valuator to have one point of contact to help eliminate any confusion among the parties.

6. Complexity of Valuation Purpose: The purpose of the valuation also influences its complexity and, consequently, the timeline. Valuations for regulatory compliance, litigation support, or financial reporting may require adherence to specific standards and guidelines, resulting in a more intricate and time-consuming process compared to valuations for internal planning or negotiations.  Reports for regulatory compliance or litigation commonly require more detailed explanations and footnoting.

7. Expertise and Resources of the Valuation Firm: The experience, expertise, and resources of the valuation firm conducting the assessment play a significant role in determining the timeline. A reputable firm with a skilled team and efficient processes is likely to complete the valuation more promptly than a less experienced or understaffed entity.


In summary, the timeline for obtaining a business valuation or appraisal can vary significantly based on numerous factors as mentioned above. While some valuations can be completed within a few weeks, others may take several months to finalize. It is essential for stakeholders involved in the valuation process to understand these factors and manage expectations accordingly to ensure a thorough and accurate assessment of the business's worth.



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