Business Brokering, M&A and Exit Planning Certification Alphabet Soup

“Boy, those are a lot of initials after your name” the business owner asked a prospective broker she was interviewing. “It’s like alphabet soup! What do they all mean?”

Here is our explainer to the predominate business brokering, M&A and exit planning industry certifications:

Certified Business Intermediary

Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) is awarded by the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) in Independence, Ohio. The CBI is the recognized gold standard certification in business brokering industry. It’s awarded after a rigorous training process, proctored examination and prove the business broker has worked on at least three transactions. CBI’s are trained and tested on the industry Standards of Care, legal aspects of business brokerage, financial statement analysis and recasting, and pricing businesses for sale. When you are choosing a broker to help you sell your business, choose a Certified Business Intermediary for best results.

Certified M&A Professional (CM&AP) is an academic credential. It is awarded by the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia in partnership with the M&A Source. M&A Source is an industry trade association for business intermediaries who focus on middle market transactions with revenues between $5M and $50M. The CM&AP is a five, full-day program that teaches on all phases of the life cycle of a successful M&A transaction with a special focus on best practices. M&A strategy, financial statement analysis, valuation, and deal structuring are some of the topics taught by leading industry practitioners and college professors.


Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA) is awarded by the Exit Planning Institute (EPI) in Westlake, Ohio. EPI started awarding the CEPA designation in 2007. It’s awarded to individuals in the business brokering, consulting and exit planning industries who complete five, full days of learning and pass a thorough examination. CEPAs train business owners to think about the value of their business. They focus on how to maximize value and how to prepare for life after the sale of their business. There are more than 800 CEPAs around the world.


Certified Value Builder (CVB) is awarded by the Value Builder System in Toronto, Canada. The Value Builder System trains business advisors to assess an enterprise thru the lens of a prospective buyer and deliver impactful solutions to raise business value. The Value Builder online questionnaire takes business owners only 13 minutes to complete after which the owner immediately receives a Value Builder Score out of 100. More than 40,000 users have completed The Value Builder questionnaire. Companies that achieve a score of 80+ are predicted to get offers that are 71% higher than the average business.


Are there others? Yes. They include Certified Business Broker, Mergers & Acquisitions Master Intermediary, Certified Mergers & Acquisitions Advisor, Certified Exit Planner, Certified Valuation Analyst, and many others.

We hope this alphabet soup explainer helps business owners and their trusted advisors understand Business Brokering, M&A and Exit Planning industry certifications.

HartmannRhodes provides value advisory services to grow business value. We leverage the Value Builder System for business value enhancement. HartmannRhodes is a multidisciplinary team of M&A Advisors, business brokers, and exit planning advisors/consultants focused solely on lower, middle-market businesses. If your business has sales between $1M-$25M per year, we can help. Call HartmannRhodes today at 1-908-441-4780.