Leading Accounting Firm, Gettry Marcus CPA, P.C. Explains the Use of Forensic Accounting in Litigation

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On February 23, 2015, Gettry Marcus CPA, P.C., discusses the role of forensic accounting in various matters of litigation. A recent article published in The Suffolk Lawyer, written by Andrew P. Ross (Partner, Gettry Marcus) and James Stewart (Forensic Accountant, Gettry Marcus Business Valuation & Litigation Services Group) discusses the role forensic analysis plays in corporate accounting and matters of litigation.

Forensic accounting is a central component of fraud detection and prosecution. Forensic accountants combine their accounting expertise with investigative skills, “using this unique combination in litigation support and investigative accounting settings,” according to Ross and Stewart.

The core duties of forensic accountants involve in-depth analysis of relevant financial documents surrounding a case, in which the accountant contributes his or her expert knowledge of the subtle accounting and financial issues that may be relevant to the matter. “Attorneys can often attain distinct advantages at the negotiating table and at trial by being able to present quantifiable data in clear, cohesive terms,” according to the article.

Forensic accountants are also commonly retained to evaluate the merits of a prospective case to determine if litigation is feasible or necessary, or to provide discovery assistance for a retaining attorney, who may require specific financial documents in order to prove the arguments of a case.

Forensic accountants also help with depositions, preparing questions to assist the retaining attorney in deposing the opposition's expert or other financial witnesses. Forensic accounting skills are also integral in “especially difficult cases” involving high-volume electronic discovery where identifying the pertinent documents presents a major challenge, explain Ross and Stewart.

Forensic accountants typically offer their services in one of two primary roles in matters of litigation:

Consulting expert: The forensic accountant operates as a consultant to the retaining attorney, where he or she assists in formulating case strategies and evaluating the strength of the matter at hand. A consulting attorney's work is typically privileged and protected from the discovery process.

Testifying expert: As a testifying expert, the accountant is usually required to testify and provide an expert opinion. Their work product is typically not protected from discovery by the opposing party. In this scenario, the forensic account must be able to effectively “articulate his findings to the trier of fact at trial,” whether the audience be a judge, jury or arbitrator.

There are certain instances in which the forensic accountant is initially retained as a consultant, only to be subsequently retained to testify. The positives and negatives of each arrangement should be carefully evaluated by the retaining attorney, caution Ross and Stewart.

About Gettry Marcus:

Gettry Marcus CPA, P.C. is a Top 200 firm nationally with offices in Woodbury, Long Island and New York City. We provide accounting, tax, and consulting services to commercial businesses, high net worth individuals and various industries which include Real Estate and Health Care. We have one of the premier and most credentialed Business Valuation and Litigation Groups in the New York Area.

Our experience in diverse industries and a highly talented and experienced professional staff gives us the ability to share valuable insights into our clients’ businesses, to better understand their goals and problems and to help them attain the vision they have for their company.

Gettry Marcus is "Always Looking Deeper" to build value for our clients.

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Fayellen Dietchweiler
Gettry Marcus CPA, P.C.
+1 (516) 364-3390 Ext: 225
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