Presenting financial information to a jury, especially in complex matters, can seem a nearly impossible task. Most jurors have little or no understanding of financial statements or financial analysis, and introducing large amounts of data and complex spreadsheets can be mind boggling and intimidating. But the job of a forensic accountant providing expert witness testimony to a jury is to make even the most complicated financial data understandable.
“Presenting complex financial information in a way that allows jurors to grasp its meaning can have a significant impact in the presentation of a 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. “It is the financial data that often can make a difference between winning a case and losing a case, or between a significant jury award or a paltry one.”
Anderson, a forensic accounting expert in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, recalled one case in which he was asked to prepare detailed financial reports for a jury and provide expert witness testimony during the trial. Anderson said the case centered around a claim by his client (the plaintiff) that the actions of the defendants had caused the client to lose sales and, therefore, profits. (Note: The company name, amounts and dates in the examples below have been changed to protect client confidentiality.)
As a result of a thorough analysis of the data, Anderson’s report to the plaintiff’s counsel included the following two spreadsheets. (Click on each chart for a closer look.):
“Imagine yourself sitting on a jury and being confronted with these schedules,” said Anderson, whose full range of forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley includes litigation support services and expert witness testimony in Philadelphia. “The columns of numbers would have been difficult to remember and even harder to understand. And they would not have had the intended impact on the jury.”
Anderson did not present the schedules as they appeared in his report to the counsel, but instead reduced the information to a simplified set of color-coded charts:
“These charts made it much easier for the jury to see the impact of the defendant’s actions and to visualize the amount of losses suffered by the plaintiff in each quarter,” said Anderson, a forensic accounting expert in Philadelphia whose company offers a full range of forensic accounting services in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley.
Anderson said another method of getting the point across to a jury is with the strategic use of color and the intensity of the color. Another chart from Anderson’s expert witness testimony before the same jury was the following:
“The dark blue color evokes a feeling of strength as opposed to the light blue color, which appears to be weaker,” explained Anderson, a forensic accountant who provides litigation support services in both civil and criminal cases. “It’s this strategic use of color that can leave the subtle impression in the jurors’ minds that my loss calculation for the plaintiff is stronger and, therefore, more reliable than the defendant’s loss calculation.”
These are just two examples of how a forensic accountant providing expert witness testimony can assist in the successful presentation of a case to a jury.
If you are in need of litigation support services or expert witness testimony in Philadelphia, or 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 services, 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 accounting consultant on both civil and criminal cases.