Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA): Definition, Roles, and Real-World Examples


The Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation is a prestigious credential offered by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) to professionals specializing in business valuation. Earning the CVA certification involves a multi-step process that includes education, examination, and ongoing professional development. CVAs play pivotal roles in various fields, such as mergers and acquisitions, financial analysis, and advising on business valuation. This article delves into the comprehensive details of the CVA designation, the steps to achieve it, and the responsibilities of CVAs.

Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) Definition

Understanding the Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation

The Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation is a respected qualification awarded by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) to professionals specializing in business valuation. To become a CVA, individuals must meet specific requirements, including holding a business degree or having substantial work experience in business valuation. Additionally, applicants need to provide personal and business references, be members in good standing with NACVA, or pay a CVA designation fee. The final step is to pass a rigorous five-hour multiple-choice CVA exam.
Successfully achieving the CVA designation allows professionals to add these prestigious initials after their names. This not only enhances their professional reputation but also opens doors to better job opportunities and potentially higher pay. Furthermore, CVA professionals are required to engage in continuing professional education, involving 36 to 60 hours of learning every three years to maintain their certification.

The versatile roles of Certified Valuation Analysts

Professionals with the CVA designation can pursue a range of career paths, including positions as merger and acquisition consultants, investment and financial analysts, or financial officers. Their roles encompass diverse responsibilities, such as providing guidance and determining the value of a business during sales or mergers, assessing business values for succession planning, assisting businesses in securing credit or funding, and establishing buy-in prices for prospective business partners.
CVAs also contribute expertise in exit strategies, business dissolution, financial advisory during legal matters, and guidance on generational wealth succession. They are well-versed in business valuation fundamentals, techniques, and theory, income and asset approaches to valuation, case analysis, and special purpose valuation.

The six steps to becoming a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA)

Becoming a CVA involves a structured process with the following steps:
Meet the CVA qualifications and apply for the designation: Individuals must ensure they meet the qualifications, which include educational requirements and relevant work experience. After meeting these requirements, they can apply for the CVA designation.

Apply for NACVA membership or pay the CVA designation fee: As a part of the process, candidates must either become members of NACVA or pay a CVA designation fee.

Study the required material for the CVA exam: To prepare for the CVA exam, candidates need to study the material provided by NACVA thoroughly.

Pass the CVA exam: The CVA exam is a comprehensive test of the candidate’s knowledge and skills in business valuation. Successful completion is a crucial step.

Participate in a peer-reviewed business valuation report: Candidates are required to undergo a peer-reviewed business valuation report, ensuring the application of learned skills in real-world scenarios.

Maintain CVA certification: Maintaining the CVA designation involves paying NACVA membership fees or CVA renewal fees. Additionally, candidates must accumulate 36 to 60 hours of continuing education credits every three years.

On average, approximately 94% of candidates who take the CVA exam successfully pass it. Aspiring professionals may also consider other certifications like CFA or CPA to evaluate their career goals.

Benefits of achieving the CVA designation

Earning the CVA designation signifies a commitment to excellence in the field of business valuation. This certification sets individuals apart as experts in their profession, enhancing their credibility and demonstrating a dedication to their clients and employers. However, it’s essential to carefully consider the potential benefits and impacts of obtaining the CVA designation.
If you are currently employed, it’s advisable to assess whether becoming a CVA can lead to career advancement, salary increases, or securing your desired job position. For those seeking employment, research the job market to determine if employers prefer to hire CVAs or if other similar designations are in higher demand.

Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) duties

Consider the scenario of a CVA hired to value a private business that the owner intends to sell. The CVA’s primary responsibility is to determine a fair valuation, striking a balance between attracting potential buyers and ensuring that the owner receives the true worth of the business.
Valuing a business goes beyond applying a standard price-to-earnings multiple. CVAs conduct in-depth assessments, evaluating not only tangible assets but also intangibles, such as customer lists, distribution networks, copyrights, and marketability. They also consider aspects like management quality, employee strength, financial health, and market competitiveness.

Furthermore, CVAs analyze the macroeconomic factors affecting the industry, growth prospects, and the economic climate in the geographic locations where the business operates. All this data allows them to select an appropriate valuation methodology, providing a value that empowers the business owner during negotiations.

Benefits of earning the CVA designation

Enhanced professional reputation

Earning the Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation significantly enhances your professional reputation. With this credential, you join the ranks of experts in business valuation, gaining recognition from peers, employers, and clients. Your expertise in assessing and determining the value of businesses becomes more credible, making you a sought-after professional in the financial industry.

Job opportunities and career advancement

One of the primary benefits of achieving the CVA designation is the potential for increased job opportunities and career advancement. Many employers actively seek CVAs to fill roles such as merger and acquisition consultants, financial analysts, and valuation experts. Whether you’re looking to secure a new job or advance in your current position, holding the CVA credential can set you apart from other candidates.

Higher earning potential

The CVA designation often translates to higher earning potential. Employers value professionals with specialized skills, and they are willing to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain CVAs. Whether you work as an independent consultant or within a company, your ability to provide expert business valuation services can lead to a more lucrative career.

The CVA designation vs. other financial certifications

CVA vs. CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)

While the CVA and CFA designations both hold prestige in the financial industry, they serve different purposes. The CVA focuses specifically on business valuation and is ideal for professionals working in this field. In contrast, the CFA designation covers a broader range of financial topics, including investment management and portfolio analysis. Your choice between the two depends on your career goals and the specific area of finance you wish to specialize in.

CVA vs. CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are experts in accounting, auditing, and taxation, while CVAs specialize in business valuation. CPAs may work in various areas of finance and accounting, including taxation and financial statement analysis, whereas CVAs are valuation experts. If your career path leans more towards business valuation and advisory services, pursuing the CVA designation may be the better choice.

Opportunities and demand for CVAs in today’s market

The role of CVAs in mergers and acquisitions

Certified Valuation Analysts play a crucial role in the field of mergers and acquisitions (M&A). They are responsible for assessing the value of businesses involved in M&A transactions. CVAs ensure that the purchase or sale price accurately reflects the true worth of the business, helping both buyers and sellers make informed decisions.

Career outlook for CVAs

The demand for CVAs continues to grow in various industries. Businesses, investors, and financial institutions rely on CVAs to provide expert valuation services. With the ongoing need for accurate business valuations, the career outlook for CVAs remains promising. Job opportunities are available in both established companies and as independent consultants.

Specialized areas for CVAs

CVAs can specialize in various areas, such as healthcare, technology, or real estate. These specialized niches offer unique opportunities and challenges. For example, a CVA with expertise in healthcare can assess the value of medical practices, while one specializing in technology may evaluate software companies. These niche areas often come with specific market demands, making CVAs with specialized knowledge highly sought after.


The Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation represents a significant achievement in the field of business valuation. It requires dedication, education, and examination to earn this prestigious credential. CVAs play essential roles in various industries, guiding business owners, investors, and financial professionals with their expertise in valuing businesses. As you consider pursuing the CVA designation, carefully weigh the benefits it can offer in your career path and how it aligns with your professional goals.

Frequently asked questions

What is the certified valuation analyst (CVA) designation?

The Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) designation is a professional credential awarded by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) to individuals specializing in business valuation. It signifies expertise in assessing and determining the value of businesses.

What are the key qualifications required to become a CVA?

To become a CVA, individuals must meet specific educational and work experience requirements, submit references, pass a rigorous CVA exam, and engage in continuing professional education.

What are the primary roles and responsibilities of CVAs?

CVAs can take on various roles, including merger and acquisition consultants, financial analysts, and advisors in business valuation. They provide services related to assessing business values, facilitating sales and mergers, and offering financial guidance.

Is pursuing the CVA designation a good career move?

Becoming a CVA can be a beneficial career move for professionals in business valuation and related fields. It enhances credibility, opens doors to career advancement, and signifies dedication to the profession. However, the decision should align with individual career goals and the job market.

How does the CVA designation compare to other financial certifications like CFA and CPA?

The CVA and other financial certifications like Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) serve different purposes. The CVA focuses specifically on business valuation, making it ideal for professionals in that field. Comparatively, the CFA and CPA cover broader financial topics. The choice between them depends on career goals and areas of specialization.

What are the key opportunities and demand for CVAs in today’s job market?

CVAs play a crucial role in mergers and acquisitions, ensuring that the value of businesses in these transactions is accurately assessed. With the increasing need for precise business valuations, the career outlook for CVAs remains promising. Job opportunities are available both in established companies and as independent consultants. CVAs can also specialize in specific areas, such as healthcare or technology, offering unique opportunities based on market demands.

Key takeaways

  • The CVA designation is awarded by NACVA to professionals specializing in business valuation.
  • CVAs play vital roles in various industries, providing expertise in valuing businesses and guiding financial decisions.
  • Becoming a CVA involves a multi-step process, including education, examination, and continuing professional development.
  • Earning the CVA designation can lead to career advancement and enhanced professional credibility.
View Article Sources
  1. Qualifications for CVA Certification – NACVA – Naylor Association Solutions
  2. Top Ten Reasons to Consider CVA Certification – TN.gov
  3. Certification Toolkit – Vascular Access Certification