The Differences Between Conclusion of Value and Calculation of Value

The Differences Between Conclusion of Value and Calculation of ValueWhen a business is looking for a valuation, it needs to decide whether to use the calculation of value approach versus the conclusion of value option.

The conclusion of value calculation is a more rigorous and resource-intensive calculation of value. Both approaches are similarly dependable, and despite the calculation of value’s less in-depth approach, business owners can still benefit from this knowledge for their short- and long-term projection needs. However, there are some distinctions between the two approaches. 

Calculation of Value

This method can be conducted annually or once every 24 months. It’s often applied for internal needs, such as the owner looking to retire, selling the business or for critical strategy development. Calculation of value also can be used for planning purposes, such as the settlement stage of a divorce. However, since it’s not an opinion of value, it’s not seen during litigation. 

Calculation of value aims to get the company’s fair market value via comparable companies. It is an approximate value, calculated through either a single figure or a range.

Conclusion of Value

This is more comprehensive and has stricter standards that can meet those required by the IRS, lawsuits, the Department of Labor, potential business buyers, M&A activity, etc. Conclusion of value can take as long as six weeks to complete due to stricter reporting standards.  

It’s up to the discretion of the analyst, and the results can be a single figure or a range. There are three accepted forms of valuation: market, income and asset-based, necessitating additional time. These three approaches are defined further below.

Market-Based Valuation

This looks at charted data of transaction values to calculate a business’ financial worth. This works similar to how those in the real estate industry determine comparable business’ worth, which is based on substantially similar conditions.

Regardless of the type of business, it looks at financial metrics such as the client service model, business location, profitability, percentage of periodic revenue projections, overall revenue, growth rates, mean account sizes, etc.  

Income-Based Valuation

This type of analysis establishes fair value by looking at historical, present and projected future cash flows. It also looks at reasonable projected returns on future investments.  

Valuing investments via the discounted cash flow method (DCF) involves looking at after-tax, discretionary, and/or operating cash flow types. This approach is often utilized with businesses that have no to limited earning growth projections.

The Capitalization of Earnings/Cash Flow Method

This begins with determining the cash flow for a discrete period. Then, the cash flow is divided by the capitalization rate over the same period. The capitalization rate is determined by taking a property’s net operating income and dividing it by the present market value. Looking through a real estate lens, it’s interpreted as the percentage of return an investor is likely to obtain from an investment. It’s often calculated for mature/established businesses that grow at a reasonable/predictable rate.

Excess Earnings Valuation Methodology

This can be defined as looking at how much tangible and intangible assets earn for a company over a discrete period of time. 

Asset-Based Valuation

This values a company by looking at the net value of assets within a company or the post-liability deduction of the fair market value of the company’s total assets. It’s one way to determine how much a company would cost to re-create. 

While each business has its own needs for valuation, be it for internal or external audiences, understanding how to accomplish them and when to use each type is extremely helpful for overall operations.

Liquidation Value Versus Going-Concern Value

Liquidation Value Versus Going-Concern ValueWhether it’s a company firing on all cylinders or a company on the verge of liquidation, determining correct valuations is not a cut-and-dry process. Understanding the importance of going-concern values and liquidation values is essential when determining a business’ worth.

Quantifying Going-Concern Value

When it comes to defining this type of value, it factors in the likelihood of a business operating indefinitely with continued profitability. With a company’s demonstrated ability to maintain profitability comes inherent value, reducing the likelihood of a business going bankrupt. 

In contrast to a business’ liquidation value basis, which might only be $20 million due to unsold goods, real property and associated physical assets, the going-concern value might be worth $120 million. The difference and increase in value are due to the additional equity embedded in its competitive position in its industry, its projected future cash flows, goodwill, etc. Goodwill consists of the company’s name, its intellectual property (IP) patent, trademarks, customer loyalty, etc.

When one company looks to acquire another, the company bases its valuation on the calculated going-concern value of the acquiree. When formulating its offer to purchase the other, it will factor in its future profitability, intangible assets, customer loyalty, and goodwill.

Liquidation Value Defined

Liquidation value is determined by establishing the net value of a company’s physical or tangible assets if they were to go out of business. It’s important to distinguish that intangible assets (intellectual property, brand significance, and goodwill) are not included in liquidation sales. Assets are often sold at a loss because the seller must turn the assets into cash quickly. Generally, liquidation valuation is higher than salvage value but less than book value. Though, to contrast with a traditional, non-acquisition sale, intangible assets are considered part of the sale/offer price.

One important concept for determining liquidation value is the recovery rate. Cash is naturally the highest level, usually at 100 percent. From there, assets such as accounts receivable (AR), inventory, property, plant, and equipment (PPE) have progressively lower recovery values. Determining these values will accordingly govern the success of a liquidation sale.

Comparing Values: Market vs. Book vs. Liquidation vs. Salvage

It’s important to highlight the hierarchy of values to illustrate why these types of valuations differ so much. Market value is the highest, though market conditions can temporarily lower them below normal valuations. Book value is the second highest, also known as historical, and it is what’s listed on the company’s balance sheet. Book values must be looked at through the lens of history and relative to inflation, etc. Salvage value is the second lowest valuation, which is also referred to as scrap value, or when an item is “at the end of its useful life.” Liquidation is the lowest value because tangible assets must be sold quickly, lessening the chance to find a buyer at a fair price.

How Liquidation Works

Liquidation is the difference between a company’s tangible asset value and liabilities. For example:

  1. Liabilities of a business are $750,000

  2. Balance sheet assets show a book value of $1.5 million

  3. Salvage value of assets is $250,000

  4. Auction sale estimate value is $1.2 million, or 80 percent

Liquidation Value = Auction Value – Liabilities ($1.2 million – $750,000 = $450,000)

Many variables must be studied to effectively determine a company’s value, regardless of what spectrum is being evaluated. Employees and consultants who have a better grasp of these methods will provide everyone involved with a fair assessment.