What Counts? How On-Site Inventory Benefits Valuations  

June 27, 2024

Written by Joel Gomez, ASA

Before you begin the process of selling your medical practice, it is always in your best interest to ensure your practice’s value is accurately represented. Most buyers of medical practices, including healthcare systems and hospitals, begin the transaction process with a fair market value analysis of the business revenues to determine the purchase price. Unfortunately, many practices in the position of selling are in a break-even or negative cash–flow scenario. In these instances, the value of the practice may be most accurately represented by the fair market value of personal property and real property.

Some buyers opt to have personal property valued on a “desktop” scope of work, relying on data in the form of a depreciation schedule or practice inventory as the basis of the fair market value analysis. While acceptable for fair market value purposes, this approach may not capture all owned personal property.

Identifying Personal Property Through Accounting Documents

The first approach for identifying personal property through accounting documents is the use of a depreciation schedule or fixed asset listing (FAL). While real property is easily identifiable (the space is either owned or rented), personal property listings are often less maintained, reliant on an accountant’s tracking of capitalized assets, and may not fully reflect what is owned.  When preparing a valuation, an appraiser is always subject to the quality of available data. FALs maintained by an accountant only display equipment that meets the predetermined capitalization cost threshold determined by that accountant. Additionally, some capitalized assets are removed from the FAL once it has fully depreciated according to accounting standards. Providing an equipment appraiser, a FAL as the basis of their appraisal could mean valuable practice assets are not captured.

An on-site inspection and asset inventory by an appraiser allows them to capture all assets on a room-by-room basis, regardless of original purchase cost or visibility on the FAL.

Practice Staff Identifying Personal Property

Another alternative to an appraiser performing an on-site inspection is to have a practice employee create the inventory. While this may sound like a good approach initially, information captured by someone other than an appraisal expert tends to be inconsistent. Items captured in one room are missed in the next, and inconsistent asset descriptions will lead to follow-up information requests, requiring the selling practice to invest more work hours.

The VMG Health Solution

Hiring an appraisal expert to complete an on-site inventory and inspection of the practice’s tangible personal property ensures personal property listings are maintained, fully reflect what is owned, and include consistent asset descriptions from room to room. VMG Health reviewed a sampling of projects over the past 18 months, across several practice specialties, and noted that when completing a site visit as part of our valuation process, the fair market value conclusion of exam rooms was roughly 60%–70% higher on a per-room basis compared to relying on practice data/inventories.

VMG Health’s qualified equipment appraisers have the knowledge and experience to complete a discrete and comprehensive inventory, gathering all necessary data during the visit and minimizing interruptions to the practice operations and patient flow.

VMG Health’s team of equipment appraisers has over 55 years of experience in the equipment appraisal field across all sectors of the healthcare industry and includes three accredited senior appraisers with the American Society of Appraisers. Since 1995, VMG Health has earned the trust of our clients with extensive expertise in navigating the dynamic factors that influence value. If you are in the process of valuing your practice, use VMG Health’s equipment appraisers to complete an on-site inspection, inventory, and valuation of your personal property.

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