The Role of a Forensic Accountant in Litigation Support

Whether you operate a small family business or a large corporation, litigation is an arduous undertaking. The time, effort and cost associated with litigating a matter are significant, to say the least. As you begin this journey, you may be wondering if there’s a way to make the process easier while still being proactive and expediting a resolution. The best way to achieve this is to bring in a qualified, experienced & knowledgeable forensic accountant early in the litigation process.

A forensic accountant can be a great asset to consult and assist with different aspects of the case. Below are examples as to how and when a forensic accountant may provide meaningful value to a litigation team.

Pre-Discovery Consulting & Calculation of Potential Damages

Forensic accountants have the potential to help save substantial costs when brought in to assist counsel and their clients in the initial phases of the litigation process. They can provide an impartial perspective and complete a preliminary estimate of damages which may save an organization a significant amount of money over the span of the dispute, as the analysis may shed light on the true reality of the case. Not only can this exercise save money and introduce realistic expectations, it can also aid counsel in defining the litigation strategy going forward, which ideally will result in an expedited and favorable settlement agreement.

Discovery-Phase Advisory Consulting

In all litigation matters both the plaintiff and the defense are subject to discovery, during which evidence is solicited and gathered through information requests, depositions and research. A forensic accountant can assist counsel in identifying relevant information to request that would be pertinent to proving damages. He or she can also prep for and attend depositions as well as analyze potential strategies of the opposing parties based on their inquiries.

Serving as an Expert Witness

Once it is clear that a case may go to trial, it’s time to engage a forensic accountant, if one hasn’t been engaged already. The work of the forensic accountant, serving as an expert witness, can make or break a case. Therefore, it is advantageous to get a forensic accountant involved in the process as early as possible so that they have ample time and resources to become educated on the background of the case, the parties involved and the surrounding factors in play.

For Plantiffs

On the plaintiff’s side, a forensic accountant is needed to conduct an independent calculation of damages using a methodology that is performed in accordance with professional standards and which is admissible into the venue of the litigation.

For Defendants

On the defense side, an expert may help educate counsel as part of the preparation process to depose the opposing party’s expert witness and offer rebuttal testimony.

Rebutting Opposing Expert Witnesses

If hired early enough in the process, a rebuttal expert can assist counsel with strategizing against the opposing party’s expert, prepare to depose the expert witness, or even assist in Daubert challenges against the expert in an attempt to get the expert’s calculations and testimony thrown out of the case.

Hiring a forensic accountant

Forensic accountants bring a breadth of expertise and consulting capabilities to a legal dispute. Hiring a forensic accountant on the front end of the many complicated issues that arise during litigation is a strategic best practice and a cost-saving measure. Waiting until settlement discussions cease is often too late to realize the cost saving advantages.

If you are contemplating or being forced into litigation, keep in mind the value a forensic accountant can provide, which may ultimately help achieve the best result in the most efficient manner. Learn more about Bennett Thrasher’s forensic accounting services or contact one of our experts today.

Click here to download the full article.