The Role of the Forensic Accountant in Alternate Dispute Resolution

David Anderson is principal of David Anderson & Associates, a Philadelphia forensic accounting firm that provides a full range of forensic accounting services including business valuation, fraud investigation, and fraud deterrence programs in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley.

Business litigation can be a very expensive proposition.  Generally, opposing attorneys will fight vigorously for their clients.  When forensic accountants are engaged as expert witnesses in business litigation, such fighting can drive up the cost of the expert witnesses and drive down the understanding of the forensic accountant’s work and, therefore, the client’s satisfaction with the forensic accountant

In a typical business litigation scenario, the opposing attorneys may fight against providing information which the forensic accountant has requested in order to calculate damages or to perform a business valuation valuation.  Depending on the amount of rancor between the parties and level of antagonistic determination between the attorneys, Anderson, of David Anderson & Associates, says there are times he may have to perform the damage calculation or business valuation without all the relevant information he believes is necessary.  In the absence of such information, the forensic accountant may have to make reasonable assumptions regarding the missing information.  If there are differing assumptions by each side’s expert witness, significant differences in damage calculation or business valuation amounts may result.

In such situations, the parties often may expend significant time and incur significant costs in using these forensic accounting experts.  Especially when there are significant differences of opinion between the two expert witnesses, the experts’ fees and attorney fees can be even higher.  According to Anderson, both parties also may come away with confusion and misunderstanding regarding how the relevant damage amount or business’s value was determined. This is because they may only speak with the expert retained by their attorney and must rely upon the deposition and/or courtroom testimony of the opposing expert without being able to ask their own questions.

The use of alternate dispute resolution – such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation – not only can reduce the cost of traditional business litigation, but also can help eliminate the uncertainty that comes from leaving the resolution of the dispute up to the Courts (judge or jury).

Examples of disputes that are prime candidates for alternate dispute resolution include:

  • Business contract disputes
  • Shareholder/partner disputes
  • Employee termination disputes
  • Insurance claims
  • Royalty payment disputes
  • Patent/trademark disputes

So how does the role of the forensic accounting expert differ in alternate dispute resolution?

  • First, the forensic accounting expert can be jointly retained by both parties as opposed to by just one party in traditional business litigation.
  • Next, because of the joint retention of the forensic accounting expert, both parties are more cooperative and better able to share all the necessary information needed by the forensic accounting expert. Thus, there is also usually less of a need to make assumptions.
  • Finally, Anderson explained, the expert witness report can be openly reviewed with both parties. Because this is a joint retention, the forensic accounting expert can be more open and informative with both parties and stand ready to fully answer either party’s questions. This helps to eliminate confusion and lack of understanding regarding the damage calculation or business valuation and the forensic accounting expert’s process.

Additionally, the cost for the forensic accounting expert will be less, because only one expert is retained instead of two, and because the cost of depositions and/or courtroom testimony can be eliminated.

If you need a forensic accounting or business valuation professional in Philadelphia, or if you require any other 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

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 who has more than 30 years of experience in financial and operational leadership positions and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Valuation Analyst and a Certified Fraud Examiner in Philadelphia.