The role of a forensic accountant when it comes to commercial dispute resolution can vary greatly. From casting a subjective eye over the merits of a claim, to calculating and quantifying damages, their service will be designed to take the worry out of what could be an extremely stressful and complex situation.
Typically, forensic accountants will first of all carry out a preliminary review of any information provided by their client, provide an initial analysis of liability in the situation, and quantify potential damages. Crucially, they can also give their opinions on the merits of a claim, which could end up saving a lot of time and money. This is why it is essential to consult a forensic accounting specialist at the earliest opportunity.
Once the early steps are completed, forensic accountants can assist with drafting letters before actions, witness statements and statements of claims — while also providing technical assistance and offering independent opinions on technical accounting matters. In addition, they will offer support throughout mediation and settlement negotiations.
The main purpose of a forensic accountant in commercial dispute resolution comes in the investigation stage. They will carry out an in-depth review of all information and seek out new evidence with the aim of proving or disproving (depending on whether they are acting on behalf of claimants or defendants) the claim. They will then present a thorough report of their findings and can even appear as an expert witness should the case go to court.
Quantifying damages is another integral role of a forensic accountant, as they will use all of their expertise and know-how to determine exactly how much loss has occurred and how much money is needed to make the claimant whole again. Having the unbiased and professional opinion of a forensic accountant on your side can often be the difference between success and failure.