Trial attorneys know that expert witness testimony from a forensic accounting expert can be critical in determining the outcome of legal proceedings. Likewise, the timing of when an attorney engages the services of a forensic accountant for litigation support services and, ultimately, expert witness testimony also has a direct bearing on the success or failure of the case.
“The earlier a forensic accounting expert is called in to consult on a case, the greater the chances the expert will be able to contribute information crucial to winning the case,” said David Anderson, principal of David Anderson & Associates, a Philadelphia forensic accounting firm that provides litigation support services and expert witness testimony in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. “Forensic accounting experts who are engaged too late in the process often cannot have the impact on the case that the attorney needs.”
Anderson recently was asked by an attorney to provide expert witness testimony in Philadelphia for ongoing litigation. The attorney’s client, who was a minority shareholder in a medium-sized distribution business, was claiming that the majority shareholders were taking outsized salaries and benefits; paying significant salaries and benefits to family members who performed little or no work; paying exorbitant office rent to entities owned by the majority shareholders; and running personal expenses through the business.
The attorney said he and his client expected to resolve the litigation without going to trail, but that didn’t happen. Now, an expert report was due within two weeks. Discovery had closed several months before, but the attorney had the company’s federal income tax returns for the past five years and believed that would be enough for Anderson to create a comprehensive report detailing the transgressions of the majority shareholders.
Anderson, whose full range of forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley includes litigation support services and expert witness testimony in Philadelphia, agreed to examine the tax return and let the attorney know that same day if he would be able to produce the rushed report that was needed.
“Unfortunately, certain schedules were missing from the returns, and the information presented was in summary form – merely totals of overall expense categories with no specifics, said Anderson, a forensic accounting expert in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. “Individual employee wages were not shown and there were no details for benefits, travel, professional fees, meals and entertainment and other categories the minority shareholder suspected were being inappropriately paid by the company. A $50,000 line item for ‘Miscellaneous Expenses’ appeared on one year’s return, but with no breakdown.”
Absent the complete accounting detail that is often not found in the income tax returns, but instead in the company’s accounting records and detailed financial reports, Anderson was unable to produce the comprehensive report the attorney needed to assure a win in the case.
Engaging a forensic accountant for litigation support services at the very beginning of a case can help attorneys establish the foundation of the case and determine the most effective course for the litigation, said Anderson, whose company offers a full range of forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Forensic accounting experts provide litigation support services and expert witness testimony for both plaintiffs and defendants in civil cases, as well as both prosecutors and defense attorneys in criminal cases.
Early involvement allows the expert witness to provide advice in areas such as:
- Assistance in identifying and formulating arguments for the complaint (if for the plaintiff)
- Initial evaluation of the plaintiff’s claims and identification of the information or testimony needed to support those claims
- Analysis of the complaint and assistance with identifying arguments for the response (if for the defendant)
- Assistance with preparation of discovery requests and interrogatories, including identifying the format(s) for delivery of the requested information (for example, if requesting detailed accounting system information, identifying acceptable formats for the delivered information so that it can be analyzed in a timely and cost-effective manner)
- Follow-up on information delivered in response to discovery requests and responses to interrogatories in order to identify either missing information or additional information needed
- Assistance with identification of individuals to be deposed
- Assistance with development of questions for the deponents, including for the expert witness’s own deposition
- Preparation of a report identifying and calculating damages or business value
- Preparation of rebuttals for opposing expert reports (if necessary)
“Engaging a forensic accountant from the start provides expert analysis of your case before the discovery and deposition phases are closed,” Anderson said. “In any financial dispute, the insights and advice of a forensic accounting expert can make the difference between winning and losing the case.”
If you require the services of a forensic accounting expert in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, please contact the Philadelphia forensic accounting firm of David Anderson & Associates by calling David Anderson at 267-207-3597 or emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About David Anderson & Associates
David Anderson & Associates is a Philadelphia forensic accounting firm that provides a full range of forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. The experienced professionals at David Anderson & Associates provide forensic accounting, business valuation, fraud investigation, fraud deterrence, litigation support, economic damage analysis, business consulting and outsourced CFO services. Company principal David Anderson is a forensic accounting expert in Philadelphia with more than 30 years of experience in financial and operational leadership positions. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Valuation Analyst. Anderson also has provided expert witness testimony in the Greater Philadelphia area and served as a forensic consultant on both civil and criminal cases.