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Potential Testimony of Forensic Accountant Expert Witnesses

A forensic accountant expert witness may become necessary to unravel a confusing issue with a claim or case within a company such as when the bookkeeper or accountant hired for the business engages in illegal activity either alone or on behalf of the owner. Through the professional’s specialized experience, it is possible to understand and determine if a claim is valid or has sufficient evidence.

The potential testimony that a forensic accountanting expert witness may provide to the courtroom could include matters the business want to remain confidential or crimes that occur to affect the plaintiff. The professional may explain what the company did to harm the person in various ways, or the subject matter of the case could involve the damage caused by another company or client against the business. Sifting through financial and account details in the financial books of a company may provide additional details to increase the strength of the claim. In criminal cases, the expert may provide testimony for the prosecution against a defendant company that engaged in illegal activity.

What Is a Forensic Accountant Expert Witness

To piece together parts of a case through understanding the accounting files and paperwork, an expert may need experience
with business and small company matters with clients and customers. The forensic accountant uses his or her educational background and experience working with or for a company often as an accountant. These expert witnesses have tasks to dissect and then recreate crimes or actions that harm someone else. This may include the business or an individual. However, injury or illegal activity is usually at the heart of such investigations. Working with the lawyer hired for the case, the defendant may need to defend against his or her injury to another person or participation in criminal actions.

The Knowledge and Experience of a Forensic Accountant

Many expert witnesses either have been or are working as the profession that they become experts in during a trial. So, a forensic accountant is usually a professional accountant with added knowledge and expertise in piecing evidence and materials together. The expert may have other knowledge, education or experience that may provide a better understanding of the claim.

This could include working for a law enforcement agency or as a profiler in determining if someone commits a crime associated with accounting matters. This may involve money laundering, theft, embezzlement and even fraud. Through combining both parts of his or her background, the individual becomes a forensic accountant.

Some forensic accountants have more specialized knowledge, and knowing what the expert understands is essential in choosing him or her for the claim. Some are merely standard accountants while others have experience as a fraud examiner. Some may work as an auditor and others specialize in IT matters. Other concerns may include the need to know about the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or how a business runs. Using these details and processes, a forensic accounting expert witness may have the ability and capacity to piece together the crimes committed and place liability and responsibility for injury to a person or company.

The Testimony of the Forensic Accountant

Depending on the type of case, the forensic accountant expert witness may need to create a report about the case or claim. He or she will need to include all relevant details and an opinion based on evidence and methods used to determine an outcome. This usually involves his or her processes in piecing the matter together such as standard accounting procedures to know if there is a crime. While this may become confusing, the expert generally clears up confusion by explaining in detail how the numbers would increase suspicion of criminal activity. Testimony may also indicate that the injury of the plaintiff party or the victim is the result of the actions taken by the defendant.

While many experts may not need to testify, the legal team usually ensures that expert testimony presented in the courtroom occurs to explain and corroborate evidence. For accounting matters, this may include the details about numbers, accounts and clients. A company or individual harmed through the actions of another or a business may require the spoken words of the expert.

Testimony in an Accounting Matter

What the expert says usually pertains to the specific crime or injury. He or she will discuss and describe the actions of the defendant and how it relates to the injuries or harm to the victim. This usually gives the judge or jury enough information to deliberate.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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