What it Takes to be an Expert Witness on Accounting

An expert witness is one who, by virtue of education training, skill or occupation in a specific field is considered to be more knowledgeable in a particular area than the average person. Respected for their knowledge, these ‘experts’ may be called upon from time to time to offer their unbiased, yet expert opinion in court cases, both criminal and civil. They are called upon for the very reason they can give unbiased testimony based upon evidence, compiled by facts and the natural conditions as a result thereof.

Forensic Accountants Need to Pass an Exam

Expert witnesses on accounting are integral to a case by providing the attorney with information and recommendations as to which questions to ask. The forensic accountant will review evidence and testimony and provide the attorney with further information needed in order to prove a case. In addition to data analysis, investigative abilities are necessary in this field. A forensic accountant must first pass the Certified Public Accountant exam and many are now earning a Masters degree.

This post addresses the role of forensic accounting and expert accounting testimonies as they relate to cases brought before the courts in litigation. To clarify, the term ‘forensic’ pertains to information usable in a court of law. Many of your larger accounting firms will have those who specialize in various fields such as, insurance claims, personal injury, fraud, construction claims and royalty audits. Expert accounting witnesses may be called to testify as to the financial impact resultant from fraud, embezzlement and business disputes. A forensic accountant may appear in civil cases such as distribution of property in a divorce settlement or allegations of negligence.

An Expert Witness

When an expert witness on accounting is called to action, typically they offer reports containing financial data, economic theories and accounting and auditing standard procedures. In civil cases such as divorce proceedings where property and/or child support is involved, the forensic accountant will analyze lifestyle, financial liabilities and assets in order for the judge to determine division of property and to set child support.

Civil Cases

In other civil cases such as personal injury or breach of contract, the forensic accountant will calculate the resulting economic loss of the claimant as evidence in his or her testimony.

Criminal Cases

In criminal cases, such as business fraud, forensic accounting is used to analyze financial documents, financial reporting and the accounting system in place. It is their role to determine the accuracy of the information provided. The expert witness on accounting will be able to determine if any tampering with the numbers has occurred and how, when and where any embezzled funds were procured.

Forensic Accounting is an Exciting Field

The exciting field of forensic accounting is growing more and more in today’s economic environment. Not only are forensic accountants called upon as expert witnesses in court proceedings, but many large businesses employ the services of companies like http://veriticonsulting.com in the areas of fraud prevention, risk reduction and ensuring accurate accounting procedures are in place. Additionally, forensic accountants create business valuations which are becoming more and more necessary in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, sale and purchase of companies, resolving shareholder disputes and even setting employee stock option plans.

A forensic accountant’s skills go far beyond those of traditional accountants. In addition to solid accounting acumen, good communication skills, simplicity of terminology, analytical and investigative skills are necessary traits. When the need for an expert arises, make sure the accountant specializes in forensics.

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