When a dishonest CFO or controller cooks the books, it can be devastating for the victim organization. In addition to direct financial losses, financial statement frauds erode trust between management and other stakeholders, including lenders, investors and employees who own company stock. Unfortunately, it's common for smaller companies to associate financial misstatement with large public companies that focus heavily on earnings per share.
It may be detrimental to an expert witness's credibility if even the appearance of a lack of independence exists. In today's legal environment, discrediting an expert based on his or her relationship with counsel, the client or the judge is common. Let's examine how to identify an expert's independence.
There are many more purposes for which valuations are used. Each has its unique presumptions. It must be understood that there is no one value and that the same investment can have a different value to different people and for different reasons. Each valuator must analyze such differences, understand the presumptions inherent in the purpose for which the valuation is to be used, and select and implement a method to determine proper value for the purpose.
When a client voiced strong suspicions that her soon-to-be ex-husband was hiding assets, her attorney investigated the claim but found nothing amiss. However, he hired a forensic accounting expert to help ensure his client would receive an equitable share of the marital estate. The expert turned up a trunkload of hidden treasure - undeclared cash income and property "stashed" under the names of the husband's mother and siblings.
Goodwill can be a significant asset for a professional practice. It may include both "personal" goodwill that's attributable to individual owners and "business" goodwill that can be transferred to third parties. When accountants and other types of professionals divorce, the amount of goodwill to include in the marital estate can become contentious (and may vary depending on state law). If expert testimony on the issue is inadequate, a court might look elsewhere for help, as it did in a recent Texas divorce case, Hill v. Hill.