Preston Willcox
Outlook is bright for forensic and valuation services

Statistics show that FVS practitioners have a lot to look forward to in the years to come.

August 7, 2013
by Preston Willcox, CPA, CGMA

Over the past decade, there has been a steady increase in awareness related to the need and demand for experienced professionals in the forensic and valuation service areas.

Dating to 2002, U.S. News & World Report designated forensic accounting as one of the eight most secure career tracks in America (Feb. 8, 2002), and SmartMoney magazine counted it as one of its “10 hottest jobs” for the next decade (AccountingWeb US, May 16, 2002).

Accounting Today’s Top 100 Firms has ranked business valuation in the top five niche services for the past 15 years.

Forensic accounting revenue in the United States is projected to increase 6.8% annually from $4.3 billion in 2012 to $6 billion in 2017, while business valuation revenue is projected to increase 3.5% annually from $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion in the same respective period. According to IBISWorld, the forensic and valuation sectors have seen yearly increases in firm participation of 16.5% and 2.3%, respectively, over the past five years, which is driving the projected growth.

Rising demand for qualified staff was evident in the 2013 FVS Membership Top Issues Survey.  Respondents to the survey ranked retaining top talent as the No. 2 challenge facing their forensic and valuation services practices. As firms shift their focus to internal succession, they are struggling to identify qualified candidates to successfully lead their firm into the future because of experience gaps, especially for forensic accounting firms seeking experienced testifiers.

US and international expansion
The most recent summer exam window has seen the largest number of candidates for the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) exams since both exams moved to a semiannual exam calendar in 2011.

In its spring meeting this year, the AICPA governing Council approved a measure allowing the Institute to offer four of its specialized credentials, including the CFF and ABV credentials, outside the United States through non-U.S. accounting bodies. As a result, demand for these credentials is anticipated to grow as brand recognition and marketability of these services will increase abroad.

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Preston Willcox is a program manager, Forensic and Valuation Services, at the AICPA.

Membership in the AICPA’s Forensic and Valuation Services (FVS) Section provides access to numerous specialized resources in the forensic and valuation services discipline areas, including practice aids, toolkits, and exclusive member discounts for products and events. Visit the FVS Center at aicpa.org/FVS. Members interested in specializing in financial forensics may be interested in applying for the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential. Members interested in specializing in valuation may be interested in applying for the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credential. To learn more, visit aicpa.org/CFF and aicpa.org/ABV.