Why Use a Forensic Accountant?
In the world of medicine, qualified physicians and providers practice within a wide variety of forms ranging from single-provider offices to hospital settings. In some instances a practice may focus on a specific type of medicine, while multi-specialty practices may offer a full spectrum of care. Certain providers offer a general form of medicine, such as a family practitioner or internist, while others specialize in one specific field like radiology or orthopedic medicine.
The world of accounting is not much different, and analogies can be easily drawn from the two professions. Accounting firms range in size, from solo practitioners to national firms, as well as in their offerings. The majority of accounting firms offer the “traditional” menu of services, including bookkeeping assistance, financial statement audits, reviews, compilations, and tax return preparation. Many firms also offer more specialized services to meet the needs of their clients, such as wealth management, personnel consulting, technology services, estate and tax planning, business valuation and litigation support.
For most medical issues, the primary care provider has the appropriate medical training and experience to address the issue. In cases where a specific issue is identified, quite often a referral is made to a specialist who has more medical training and experience specific to the issue, and whose practice specializes only in that area of medicine.
The same holds true for accounting. While experienced accountants well versed in accounting and/or taxes can address most accounting and tax related issues, when issues arise either very specific in nature or outside the traditional accounting services, specialists with the appropriate background and experience should be considered to best address the matter.
In the context of forensic accounting and litigation support, this is especially true. The skills required to provide value in resolving a matter extend much beyond traditional accounting knowledge and experience. Accountants specializing in these areas draw upon their expertise and experience to identify goals and objectives, strategize with counsel and stakeholders, formulate an approach, execute strategic procedures, draft reports and results, and testify to the findings. Accounting knowledge is combined with experience with the court systems, filing requirements, the overall litigation process, investigative methodologies, interactions with criminal justice agencies and interviewing skills to add value in resolving the matter. Strong written and verbal communication skills are a necessity, as is the ability to tailor communication skills to meet different audiences ranging from attorneys and judges to victims and suspects.
When it comes to litigation support, fraud investigations and forensic accounting, the selection of the most appropriate specialist to meet a specific need in these areas could make the difference between addressing the matter and satisfactorily resolving the matter.