Royalty auditing is a niche service that has exploded in popularity over the last 20 years. The primary purpose of a royalty audit is to test whether a licensee has complied with a license agreement or statutory requirement. The royalty auditor is hired by an intellectual property owner (aka, licensor) or minerals owner to inspect the books and records of a licensee primarily to determine if usage-based monetary amounts have been paid as contractually required. In addition to monetary damage calculations, most royalty audits examine for breach of contract in a wide variety of areas, such as intellectual property protection, record keeping, distribution channels, and permitted usage.
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has opened the door significantly wider for those who wish to pursue qui tam False Claims Act suits by reversing a dismissal of two such matters. Ruling en banc in United States ex rel. Hartpence v. Kinetic Concepts, Inc., the Ninth Circuit has removed a prior restriction that any prior public disclosure must have originated from the whistleblower as well.
Forensic accounting is a highly specialized field within the overall discipline of accounting that developed decades ago. The forensic accountant must have knowledge far greater in depth and breadth than a mere accountant or even a CPA. They must have the ability to trace and analyze complex financial transactions and data to formulate an opinion that will stand up to scrutiny and is defensible in court, if need be. Developing a defensible opinion, sometimes without the aid of all the information due to difficulty or inability to obtain records, requires special skills and years of experience to reach the best conclusions.
This article presents a discussion of the validity of using the mid-year convention from a different point of view than the March 2002 BVR article by Michael Dobner.