10 Things You Should Know Before Hiring a Forensic Accountant
Hiring a forensic accountant can be a crucial decision for businesses and individuals dealing with complex financial issues, fraud investigations, legal proceedings, IRS issues, or getting a fair settlement in a divorce settlement. Forensic accountants possess specialized skills in analyzing financial data, uncovering hidden assets, and providing expert witness testimony. To ensure you make an informed decision, here are ten key things you should know before hiring a forensic accountant.
- Expertise in Forensic Accounting:
Forensic accounting goes beyond regular financial analysis. Look for a forensic accountant with extensive experience and specialized training in this field. They should possess a deep understanding of fraud detection, litigation support, investigative techniques, and tracing separate property in a divorce. Sage Investigations are experts at following the money and analyzing complex financial data to find the facts. They have 50 years combined experience as IRS special agents and financial fraud and forensics at work for you.
- Professional Certification:
Verify that the forensic accountant you intend to hire holds relevant certifications, such as the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). These certifications demonstrate their proficiency and commitment to professional ethics. Sage Investigations employees are Certified Fraud Investigators (CFEs) and have knowledge and experience that allows them to be utilized as forensic experts. Please read about our team.
- Industry Experience:
Consider the industry-specific experience of the forensic accountant. Each sector may have unique financial regulations and complexities. Hiring someone with relevant background experience ensures they understand the industry-specific challenges and can provide tailored solutions. Sage Investigations has experience and expertise in business fraud, divorce, insurance, estate and probate, and with the IRS. Please read more about the industries we serve.
- Litigation Support Experience:
If you seek a forensic accountant for a legal dispute, ensure they have a strong track record of providing litigation support. This includes preparing expert reports, presenting findings in court, and assisting attorneys with the financial aspects of the case. Sage Investigations is your alley regarding litigation support experience and expertise. We help you be better prepared for financial litigation with supporting information.
- Investigative Skills:
Forensic accountants should possess excellent investigative skills to identify financial irregularities, follow money trails, and obtain supporting evidence. They should be proficient in using advanced data analysis tools and be knowledgeable about the latest forensic accounting techniques. Along with Sage Investigations’ 50 years of knowledge and experience, we also utilize our proprietary DIO software. This advanced software saves you money, keeps your information secure and accessible, and increases accuracy. It allows us to analyze, audit, and draw conclusions on various cases, including theft, embezzlement, income tax, money laundering, vendor fraud, derivative lawsuits, and tracing separate property for divorce settlements.
- Collaboration with Other Experts:
In complex cases, forensic accountants often collaborate with other professionals, such as attorneys and law enforcement agencies. Consider hiring a forensic accountant with experience working within a multidisciplinary team to ensure a comprehensive approach to your case. Sage Investigations always works with a team of experts.
- Testimony Experience:
If there is a likelihood of providing expert testimony in court, verify that the forensic accountant has experience in this area. They should possess strong presentation skills, be comfortable under cross-examination, and have the ability to convey complex financial concepts to a jury or judge clearly. Our founder, Edmond (Ed) Martin, is a forensic expert. He has strong presentation skills, is comfortable presenting his findings clearly in court in a way the judge and jury will understand, and is comfortable under cross-examination.
- Reputation and References:
Do not hesitate to ask for references or seek out testimonials from previous clients. A reputable forensic accountant should be willing to provide you with references from clients who have dealt with similar financial situations. Sage Investigations will always provide references and case studies of their work.
Confidentiality and Ethics:
Ensure that the forensic accountant you hire has a strict code of confidentiality and adheres to professional ethics. Your financial information should always be treated with the utmost care and confidentiality throughout the engagement. Sage Investigations adheres to professional ethics and maintains confidentiality of all clients, only sharing information with a client’s attorney. Learn more about us.
- Cost and Engagement Terms:
Discuss the cost of engaging a forensic accountant upfront. It is important to clarify the fee structure, billing method, and any additional costs that may arise during the engagement. Obtain a detailed engagement letter outlining the services to be provided and the associated costs. Sage provides a free consultation to learn about your case so they can compose a detailed engagement letter outlining the services and costs. They require an engagement letter to ensure there is a clear understanding between them and their client and ensure the relationship remains intact.
Hiring a skilled forensic accountant can significantly benefit businesses and individuals facing complex financial issues. By considering the points outlined above, you can make an informed decision and ensure that you hire a forensic accountant who meets your specific needs. If you have any questions about Sage Investigations, please call us at 512-659-3179.