Financial Forensics Feed

forensic accounting

The AICPA provide CPAs with a vast array of resources, tools and information about forensic accounting and offers the Certified in Financial Forensics credential.















AICPA Forensic Accounting Credentials Are Attorneys’ Top Choices

Expert-witnessWhere do attorneys turn when they need to make a compelling case on a critical financial issue? That question can be answered by considering what kind of expert witness they employ. In a recent compilation of accounting expert witnesses who have been mentioned in court opinions or decisions in 2013, the vast majority were CPAs. (Disclaimer: The article was by Ashish Arun with Expert Witness Profiler. AICPA FVS Section Members receive a discount to Expert Witness Profiler, but we were not involved in this study.) Among the 189 accounting experts cited, 166 were CPAs. For those with specialized credentials on top of the CPA, the AICPA’s credentials were clearly preferred over those of other credentialing organizations. The Certified in Financial Forensics credential took the number two spot at 58 experts and the Accredited in Business Valuation credential took number three with 54 testifying experts. The CVA at 31, CFE at 30 and the ASA at 18 were well behind the AICPA credentials on this list.

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In Times of Catastrophe and Routine: The Need for Forensic Accountants

Business-continuityIn the aftermath of May’s devastating tornado, the residents of Oklahoma are undoubtedly facing challenges to recovery on multiple fronts… physical, emotional, financial and beyond.

The first responders did their part to begin the recovery process as soon as the storms cleared. But in the weeks and months ahead, CPAs will be providing assistance in their own way, by expertly answering questions and providing essential guidance in the recovery process.

Simply put, we can play a part in reestablishing people’s livelihoods and restoring communities that have suffered great loss.

For example, local business owners dealing with business interruption losses may need answers regarding the optimal time to contact their insurers, how to document the claims or something as fundamental as what their policy will and will not cover.


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Becoming a Better Expert Witness

Expert witnessEarlier this year, the AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services Conference was held in Orlando. In the past, forensic services and valuation services held separate conferences; this year, in recognition of the fact that many CPAs perform a combination of these services, the two events were joined. As many as eight concurrent sessions were available to attendees on topics including basic, advanced and practical forensic and valuation issues; practice management and marketing; and litigation issues. 

As a CPA who performs primarily valuation services for litigation, two issues of particular interest for me were expert testimony and the cost of capital in business valuations. Ron Seigneur moderated a panel of three attorneys in a session titled “What Do Lawyers Really Say About FVS Experts?” This session was a great look into what attorneys are looking for in an expert and how expert testimony can be most effective. 

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Catch Them When You Can

Catch me if you can frank abagnaleIt seems that the corporate world is rife with fraud these days, and as CPAs on the financial front lines, it’s up to us to protect the public from these crimes.

Just last week prosecutors in the high-profile fraud case against former Nortel executives gave closing arguments, telling a Toronto courtroom three former Nortel executives knowingly breached accounting rules to manipulate financial records and reap millions in bonuses, keeping the now-insolvent tech firm's investors and the public in the dark.

You think it won’t happen to you.

Many years ago, as a first year staff auditor, I was assigned to the audit team of a not-for-profit organization. One of my areas was cash, but after going over budget by many hours, I still couldn’t get the general ledger balance to reconcile to the bank statements. I was convinced that I just didn’t know how to do a proper bank reconciliation, but if they just gave me some more time, I would figure it out.

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5 Improvements to Civil Litigation Procedure for Financial Expert Witnesses

Reducing client costs in civil litigationHow can civil litigation become less costly and complicated and more fair for all involved? Although rules of civil procedure call for a quick, inexpensive and fair determination of all civil actions, those goals often are not met. The AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services Executive Committee and the members of the FVS membership section are well aware of the many problems within the system that can cause lengthy delays and unnecessary expenses. Because CPAs have a unique perspective on the issues involved, the FVS Executive Committee, in conjunction with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, surveyed FVS Section members, many of whom are frequently retained as expert consultants or testifying witnesses in civil litigation. Based on the survey findings, the executive committee has released a new report, “Another Voice: Financial Experts on Reducing Client Costs in Civil Litigation.”

The report offers stakeholders in the civil justice system--including judges, attorneys, financial experts and clients--five recommendations to enhance the effectiveness of financial experts and efficiency of their use in the civil pretrial process:

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And The Survey Says... Increasing Demand for Forensic Accounting

forensic accountingInfographics may be the rage these days, but I still like good old-fashioned statistics, data points and most of all, survey results. Maybe it's because I spent a lot of time watching Family Feud as a child, but when I look at survey results the voice in my head announces ‘and the survey says…’

If 100 CPAs across the country were asked ‘what is the fastest growing area in accounting,’ it is highly likely that forensic accounting would be one of their top answers. Backing up what many in the profession have long suspected to be true are the latest results from the AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services Trend Survey: and the survey says that forensic accountants are seeing a noticeable increase in demand for their services.

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