Appraisers An Important Resource
aluation analysts/appraisers perform an integral function in the bankruptcy process. Appraisers typically estimate asset collateral values of secured creditors and debtor-in-possession (DIP) financings; help to identify and value sale/leaseback, spin-offs, licensing and other reorganization opportunities; and are often involved in structuring and valuing restructured debt and equity instruments and in assessing/opining on the fairness of proposed reorganization plans.
For these reasons, bankruptcy professionals frequently need to hire, work with and rely on valuation analysts/appraisers. It is important for bankruptcy professionals to be aware of the various membership associations that train and accredit appraisers. One of these organizations is the American Society of Appraisers (ASA).
A Comprehensive Appraisal Resource
Founded almost 70 years ago in 1936, the American Society of Appraisers is the only appraisal organization in the United States that represents all areas of appraisal specialization. Today, ASA is an international organization with more than 6,000 members in the United States and 44 other countries.
ASA offers training, testing and accreditation programs in all areas of appraisal specialization. The society divides the specialties into the following appraisal disciplines: appraisal review and management, business valuation, fine art, gems and jewelry, machinery and technical specialties (including marine surveys, oil and gas, public utilities and others) and real property (including residential, rural, urban and others). ASA provides member referrals to appraisal clients and provides complimentary copies of its Directory of Professional Appraisers membership list to appraisal clients. Appraisal clients who want a referral can contact the American Society of Appraisers at (800) ASA-VALU or can search through the "Find an Appraisal Expert" feature of the ASA web page at http://www.appraisers.org.
A Rigorous Accreditation Process
ASA's primary mission is to maintain and administer a rigorous program of education, evaluation and accreditation designed to create a network of trained and experienced appraisers in nearly every functional appraisal discipline. The Accredited Senior Appraiser (ASA) and Accredited Member (AM) designations are recognized and highly respected credentials in all appraisal/valuation fields.
From an appraisal client's perspective, an ASA accreditation indicates that an appraiser has significant experience and technical expertise and has adopted a set of professional standards and code of ethics. When a client retains an appraiser who has earned the ASA designation, the client can expect that the appraiser will provide accurate, impartial and credible analysis.
The entire accreditation process takes many years and attracts experienced, skilled and committed appraisers.
An appraiser can become an Accredited Senior Appraiser only after years of experience, education and training. The first step in the accreditation process for an apprentice appraiser is to become a Candidate Member. In order to be accepted as a Candidate Member, an individual must be interviewed and approved by the local ASA chapter, must pass ASA's ethics examination and must pass an examination on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).
To attain Accredited Member status, Candidate Members of ASA must pass intensive written and oral examinations that cover both general valuation theory and the journeyman appraiser's area of technical expertise. An Accredited Member must also have a four-year college degree or its equivalent and two years (or 4,000 hours) of full-time acceptable appraisal experience. The acceptable appraisal experience must involve time spent conducting actual appraisals and preparing appraisal reports. If an individual performs appraisal activities on a part-time basis, it may take three or more years of full-time employment to achieve the 4,000 hours of full-time-equivalent appraisal experience. Candidates must also submit two demonstration appraisal reports for contrarian review by a committee of Accredited Senior Appraisers.
To earn an Accredited Senior Appraiser accreditation, an individual must meet all the requirements for Accredited Member and possess a minimum of five years (or 10,000 hours) of full-time-equivalent appraisal experience.
The entire accreditation process takes many years and attracts experienced, skilled and committed appraisers. Also, having earned the ASA accreditation, an appraiser is not at the end of the accreditation process. All ASA appraisers must renew their accreditation periodically through the society's mandatory reaccreditation process, which requires accredited members to regularly submit evidence of professional growth through participation in professional development activities and continuing education.
Active Promotion of Appraisal Standards and Qualifications
ASA has a proud history as an international, nonprofit, independent appraisal association, one of eight appraisal organizations that in 1987 founded the Appraisal Foundation, a not-for-profit educational foundation created to establish uniform standards for appraisers. Since 1989, the Appraisal Foundation has been recognized by the U.S. Congress as the source for the development and promulgation of appraisal standards and qualifications.
ASA works closely with various government agencies to help set appraisal guidelines and standards. For example, ASA has worked closely with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to establish admissions and advancement processes to enable IRS engineers, valuation specialists and appraisers to complete the requirements for accreditation in one or more appraisal disciplines. ASA members also advised the U.S. Department of the Interior on the recent consolidation of its many real estate appraisal functions.
Appraisers Are a Valuable Asset
Appraisers can be an important part of the financing, transaction, structuring and litigation aspects of bankruptcy proceedings. It is important to work with an appraiser who has significant experience and technical expertise and who supports a stringent set of professional standards and ethics. Bankruptcy professionals will find the American Society of Appraisers to be an excellent resource for highly qualified experts in all areas of appraisal specialization.