This is a common concern for many of my clients, and if you’re reading this, it’s likely a concern of yours as you face the prospect of divorce in Arizona.
The whole issue here is what’s known as “valuing” the business. In a phrase, What’s it worth?
This is far trickier than it sounds. In fact, it requires a special person, known as a Business Valuation Expert, to perform it. I’m not a BVE. But I work with lots of them. They’re generally very knowledgeable.
So why, you might reasonably ask, would my services be needed here?
Nothing against the BVEs, but their job is to work with the information they’re given. And if you find yourself smirking already, knowing your ex-, you’ll see why you can also benefit from the expertise of a CPA like me who can do forensic accounting and simply has the “eye” and the “nose” to see, or perhaps smell, when something isn’t right.
This isn’t just academic. It happens all the time.
Show me the money
I worked with a BVE recently who was assigned the job of valuing a husband’s business. He went through all of the paperwork, and basically did a perfect job.
But to me, something felt wrong. The case got my Spidey Sense tingling. And so I dug. And here’s what I found:
In the divorce case, the husband had declared that he had a deferred compensation account (read: “lots of money”), but conveniently left that account out of the information he’d provided to the BVE. So the BVE was working somewhat blind.
I’ll spare you the nerdy math, but that little “oversight” radically skewed the true value of the husband’s business. I found the discrepancy, the numbers were adjusted, and the difference more than paid for my services, many times over.
Don’t keep on trucking
Here’s another. Bear in mind that, as a business owner, your husband has control over the books, his salary, and other “expenses” that may require my scrutiny.
Why did I put the word “expenses” in quotes? It’s because they’re sometimes debatable.
I recently worked on a case where the ex-wife was petitioning for increased child support. Knowing that this was coming (it was a few years after the divorce), the ex-husband was incentivized to make sure his business looked like it wasn’t growing… which it was.
Guess what I found? He magically purchased a $40,000 truck, which he “needed” for the business, which—surprise—made about $40,000 less that year. This wasn’t obvious; I had to dig to find it. There are things like S Corporations and profit distributions and trends I can spot across, say, five years of tax filings, in order to get you what you need. What is fair. What is right.
Divorce is hard; I’ll never sugar-coat it. (I’m divorced myself; I should know.) But I can take away a lot of the pain from the financial side of it, which is why you may want to consider working with me.