Our forensic accounting expertise spans over 35 years, with arguably one of the most experienced teams in the North West.
Our forensic team provide specialist advice to support lawyers’ work. For those not directly involved with this field of work, we often get asked how we assist in such cases. With this in mind, we shed some light on the work of a forensic accountant, explaining how our forensic accountants work with the legal profession.
What is forensic accounting?
Forensic accounting according to this criminal defense lawyer’s Home Page can be described as the application of accounting techniques to financial, matrimonial or criminal disputes, or any circumstance where an independent accounting opinion is required. Essentially, forensic accountants will assist in the financial elements of court cases.
When should a forensic accountant be used?
There are a wide range of scenarios where a lawyer may require the assistance of a forensic accountant. It could be for a commercial loss of profits claim, the valuation of a business or an asset. It could also be to resolve a commercial dispute, to assist in a financial investigation or in matrimonial proceedings.
Our forensic accountants also regularly work in criminal cases, such as criminal confiscation, involving the proceeds of crime.
The full list is very comprehensive, generally, they will all involve a dispute involving money or a valuation. Often, significant data will be involved, which may be difficult to interpret and require expert forensic accountancy skills to analyse, identify irregularities and provide reasoning.
What type of services does a forensic accountant provide?
The following is a summary of some of the services that we regularly provide as part of our forensic accountancy service:
- Courses of action after reviewing financial evidence
- Obtaining relevant documentation and evidence to help uphold or reject a claim
- Examining the evidence of the opposing party and finding any strengths or weaknesses within it
- Negotiations and settlements
- Court hearings, giving evidence in court and meeting with relevant parties
Why should a forensic accountant be used?
Forensic accountants can provide a professional, independent, impartial opinion on matters within their expertise. They will provide analysis to significantly strengthen a lawyers’ case or undermine that of their opponent.
They are able to analyse, interpret and condense information so that full and supported facts are provided in a cost-efficient, timely manner. This ensures that clients have a full and proper understanding of all facts to fully assist in their case.
Documents and evidence in a case may include complex data, requiring specialist analytical skills, that is outside the typical skills of a barrister or solicitor. A forensic accountant will be able to provide this level of expertise.
A forensic accountant can also act as an expert witness. Our own forensic accountants are often appointed by plaintiffs, claimants and as court-appointed single joint experts. A forensic accountant can therefore, give evidence direct to court, which obviously, a barrister or solicitor cannot provide.
What makes a good forensic accountant?
This is a highly complex and specialist accountancy skill, requiring expert analytical and investigative accounting skills together with a good knowledge of law and experience of court proceedings.
They will need to analyse, interpret and condense information so that full and supported facts are provided in a cost-efficient, timely manner.
A particularly good forensic accountant will also hold excellent communication skills, both oral and written, have an amazing attention to detail and be naturally inquisitive and objective.
How to choose a forensic accountant
When choosing a forensic accountant, it is important to understand their skills and experience. It will be important to understand the previous cases they have worked on and any areas of specific expertise.
Their office location is not a main factor, as much of the work involves analysing and interpreting documents, which can be provided remotely. Skills and experience are much more important.
Our team has worked on over 180 cases across the UK, covering criminal and civil matters as diverse as business valuations, negligence, consequential losses and matrimonial.
Who would instruct a forensic accountant?
Our forensic accountants are typically instructed by a legal team working on a case, based on the complexities of that specific case.
We work with a wide range of lawyers across the country on both civil and criminal cases. If you are a solicitor or barrister seeking to appoint an experienced forensic accountant or would like to know more about how we can assist in a case, please do get in touch.
Alternatively, if you are considering or subject to legal proceedings, you can ask your legal team to contact us direct, to discuss how we can assist in your case.
Call us directly on 0161 832 4841 or fill out the contact form below and one of our forensic accounting specialists will be in touch shortly.