You’ve run your Black Hills business a long time, spent your entire career making it a success. You’ve put your profits back into the company, forgoing short-term rewards for the long-term value. Now, you need to know what that business is worth. Ask Ericka Heiser.

A certified valuation analyst, Heiser has been helping Ketel Thorstenson clients place dollar values on enterprises in a variety of industries, including oil-and-gas, manufacturing, healthcare, farming and ranching and food service. Despite this disparity in business types, Heiser said, there are standard ways to look at any business. She also digs deeper, gathering information from management and conducting independent research.

Ketel Thorstenson is used to dealing with a wide variety of financial issues. The full-service Rapid City, S.D., accounting firm, with offices in Custer, S.D., Spearfish, S.D., and Williston, N.D. , offers tax accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, audit services, payroll services, QuickBooks classes, business valuation and all kinds of other financial services to clients in South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska and beyond.

Heiser’s business valuation skills are called upon when clients must place a value on their businesses for reasons such as gift, estate, divorce, shareholder disputes, damage calculations and buy-sell agreements. She listed three approaches to determine the value of business interests:

Market approach: There are many variables in the market approach, not the least of which is goodwill — the brand recognition, reputation, skilled staff and customer loyalty built up over a number of years. It’s hard to put a dollar value on that, but it can be done.

Asset approach: This estimates the fair market value of all of the equipment, vehicles, buildings, inventory and other assets. It assumes there is no goodwill, and answers the question: what would you have to spend if you started the same business from scratch?

Income approach: If you invest in a business, you want to know what kind of return you will get. EBITDA (earnings before earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is a starting point.

“Developing an understanding of the specific business helps us determine which approach would be best,” she said. “We pride ourselves on getting to know our clients, knowing their business and knowing their opportunities.”