A forensic accountant is best engaged when there is anticipated legal action of a financial nature. Forensic accounting is a specialist area which requires not just expertise in accounting, company law and taxation but also a basic knowledge and experience of legal procedures.
A forensic accountant acts as an “expert witness” (Experts are individuals with qualifications which enable them to give an opinion on the facts of a case. Expert opinion is only admissible where the ordinary person could not decide on his own.) in court proceedings, helping the court to reach a decision on complicated financial issues.
He or she will normally assist the court to arrive at the “quantum of loss” – the monetary value of loss suffered by a claimant. Unlike other witnesses, who are confined to relating facts, an expert witness is the only witness who can express an opinion in court.
Areas where forensic accountants are often appointed include advising on the quantum of:
It’s worth remembering that forensic accountants can act for either side in a dispute, so you may have a claim but later find that an accountant has been employed to reduce the amount of your loss!
Forensic accountants must comply with Part 35 of the CPR – Civil Procedure Rules or the Criminal Procedure Rules.
Choosing a forensic accountant to undertake any forensic audit should be undertaken with care. Whilst anyone can call themselves a forensic accountant, you should choose one who is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, or is a member of The Academy of Experts, the Expert Witness Institute or the Network of Independent Forensic Accountants (NIFA) – all of whom require a high standard of skill and experience of forensic auditing from their members.
For more information on forensic accounting services and to discuss your requirements with an expert please Contact Us today and we will put you in touch with suitable forensic accounting firms in your area with no obligation.
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