CEO's Message—First Quarter 2017
Parnell Black, MBA, CPA, CVA
Chief Executive Officer
One must ask, why change? Change is necessary for growth, it prevents stagnation, and it fuels creativity, innovation, and promise for the future. It is required to stay ahead of our ever-changing business environment. And with it brings new life, new energy, and prosperity, especially for our members. We change because we believe these actions are in our members’ best interests.
There are many reasons for change—it can be a reaction to warranted or unwarranted pressure; it can be in impulse, fixing problems as they arise; or it can be a result of a well thought-out plan, incorporating a series of steps within a longer-term strategy. And those that know me, know I am not reactive or impulsive, and put considerable thought and careful planning into every decision. Like the personal empowerment guru, Tony Robbins, says, “Leaders anticipate, Losers react.”
There are two drivers behind the decisions we make: one is NACVA’s boards and committees, which are comprised of members who are elected to the boards and volunteer to be on committees. The other is internal—these decisions are made by staff members at headquarters (HQ) who are a part of a team. Almost everything we do at HQ that is of any significance, affecting either our service to members or operations at HQ, is discussed, analyzed, and vetted extensively by a team before a decision is made. Teams at HQ can have as few as four and up to 15 staff. The size of the team depends on both the size and needs of the project, and the effect/impact of the decision being made. And, we have as many as two dozen teams at work each year. Once in a while, teams will be comprised of both HQ staff and members; one example of this is our Annual Consultants’ Conference Planning Committee. This year they have put together an incredible event to be held in Chicago, June 7–10, 2017, entitled “Redefining Our Profession,” you can check it out here.
I know my staff sometimes express that we have too many meetings, but the fact of the matter is (and they know this), we make better decisions because of this collaboration. Plus, I doubt many organizations feel the team spirit we do. Everyone at HQ has a voice that is heard. This rule, if you want to call it that, also applies to our boards and committees. They have a powerful voice. I suspect that most people who have served on a NACVA board or committee would likely agree.
So, be it known, I do not work in a vacuum. Every decision, every change of significance implemented practically since our inception 26 years ago, was made by a board or HQ team, and was done for good reason based on a plan within a strategy that, in the short- and long-term, is in the best interest of our organization, and, more particularly, our members.
Here is a summary of changes, new products/programs/services, implemented in the last three years, or soon to be, for the benefit of our membership:
|Approximate Date||Change/Program Implemented||Reason Why|
|Institute a new website and LMS platform to support NACVA’s academic partners offering business valuation education at universities and colleges nationwide, entitled Academic Support Headquarters. NACVA currently has nearly a dozen institutions subscribing to our training materials and designating students to be CVA (candidates). We expect to onboard 20–30 institutions over the next two years.||Broaden awareness for the Association, its members, and the CVA credential, and support the entry of new candidates to the profession.|
|Rollout Financial Litigation Headquarters website, which is designed to provide a package of free services to attorneys; the same attorneys that would be hiring our members for expert support in valuations and financial damages.||Better connect NACVA’s members to the legal community; our member’s main source of referrals.|
|Rollout a Pro-Bono program where interested members can sign up to provide no-fee expert services to attorneys on their pro-bono cases where their clients, for a myriad of good reasons, cannot afford an attorney or the financial expert required in their legal matter. NACVA will be the first group of valuation and financial damages experts to put forth this service and to join the club of thousands of attorneys offering pro-bono services.||Create opportunities for NACVA’s members and support them in building relationships with law firms.|
|Form alliance with to provide CPE courses in traditional areas of tax and accounting available to NACVA’s membership for a reasonable annual fee, or added to the monthly fee if you are an Ultimate Membership subscriber.||Provide a one-stop-shop for all our members’ CPE needs.|
|Feb–2017||Unveiled the most ingenious value-building business consulting software ever conceived—CoreValue software, which for those that use it, will transform a valuation professional’s practice into a thriving consulting practice. The software, using metrics input by the consultant and drawing correlations to thousands of businesses in the software’s databank, provides the consultant a roadmap to improving company value.||Open doors to new and expanded service opportunities for members.|
|June–2016||Unveiled a new type of membership entitled Ultimate Membership, where for one modest monthly fee, members can obtain as much CPE as they want from the Association. The monthly fee includes dues and recertification and gives members a manageable way to budget for all their CPE needs; and for CPAs—including CPE required to maintain one’s CPA license. Under the Ultimate umbrella, we also offer our valuation and damages software, and KeyValueData Titanium data access for a monthly fee, as well.||Make training, products, and services more accessible with a low monthly fee easily worked into a firm’s budget. Multi-user pricing is available.|
|May–2015||Rollout member-friendly website known as Practice Support Headquarters, which is designed to quickly point members to services, products, and programs based on specific needs.||Direct members to solutions for their needs more quickly/effectively.|
|Mar–2015||Implement new model for State Chapters to employ in setting up an event, where Chapters can now leverage their events using live broadcasts of NACVA/CTI’s conferences, and using previously recorded webinars. With a wide variety of options structuring the events, low affordable pricing, a streamlined registration process, State Chapters can easily produce a successful event.||Make much simpler to execute with higher quality, to assure greater participation and member attendance.|
|Feb–2015||Rollout new KeyValueData® levels to now include: EconAssist™ (free to all NACVA members), Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium. It is through these five subscriptions that members can obtain, at greatly discounted prices, all the databases needed to perform valuation work completely and competently.||Provide more services at a lower price.|
|Jan–2015||Restructured CTI program offerings to reduce locations from 12 in 2014 to five currently, without reducing the number of live course offerings by packing more into these five CTI weeks. Traditionally, at each of the five, we will concurrently hold a two-day conference with all the trimmings, including: keynotes, luncheons, networking socials with free drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and entertainment.||Enhance training venues with more options and improve experience for attendees.|
|Nov–2014||Rollout CPE On-Demand, a library with hundreds of pre-recorded webinars, cataloged by topic, accessible to members 24/7. We add webinars to the library monthly, and now have over 600 presentations, all of which can be purchased individually or for an annual subscription fee.||Instant training on just about any topic.|
|Aug–2014||Signed agreement with European Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts™ (EACVA) to form NACVA's first International Chapter. Since then, we have signed up five more chapters: Zimbabwe, Africa; Ghana, Africa; Dubai, UAE; Taiwan, Republic of China; and Ontario, Canada.||Expand global prominence and recognition for members.|
|Mar–2014||Made significant changes to CVA® recertification requirements.||Greatly simplified, and easier to understand and report; now takes less than 30 minutes.|
This summary is just what you see on the surface. At HQ, we have redesigned all of our websites, rebuilt both our CVA and MAFF exams two times, overhauled numerous internal processes, promoted and repurposed staff, completely redefined and refined our marketing and public relations strategy, rolled-out with a few dozen new products, implemented a new CRM software system—Timberlake—with which we run our business, and we have hired many new staff.
As you might expect, this is not the end of our evolution. We have set in motion more changes that will carry through 2018, and it all can be summed up in one phrase—we are always improving. Five years ago, we set forth the most significant strategic plan in 15 years. It addressed changes necessary to posture NACVA for the next 10 to 20 years. Much of this plan has been executed though we keep finding ways to refine and improve. And, this is what keeps us busy these days.