Forensic and Valuation Services

Survey: Business development now tops FVS practitioners’ list of concerns

The top priorities of forensic and valuation services (FVS) accountants have changed drastically over the past few years, with business development concerns outpacing technical issues, according to a new AICPA study. The 2013 FVS Membership Top Issues Survey found that “bringing in new clients,” the classic business development imperative, ranked

Private-investigator licensing emerges as potential threat to CPAs

The AICPA has made available to members an online guide detailing which states and cities require CPAs practicing forensic accounting to be licensed as a private investigator. More than 40 states have enacted laws requiring private investigators to buy a license to operate in their state. Most of those regulations

Evaluate your BV skills

With a wave of Baby Boomers nearing retirement, there is a good chance CPAs will come across clients who need a business valuation. A valuation may be necessary for gift and estate purposes, transfers of ownership, tax planning purposes, and divorce. CPAs need to determine whether they should perform the

Litigation, regulation expected to add to forensic and valuation workload

Forensic and valuation CPAs expect increases in litigation and regulation to add to their workload and make it challenging to hire and keep qualified employees, according to a new AICPA survey. Attracting and retaining qualified staff led the list of top challenges over the next two to five years, identified

Compilation reports for valuation engagements?

Business valuation (BV) reports frequently include information presented in the form of financial statements. The reporting requirements for such financial statements have drawn increased attention as a result of the issuance of Statement on Standards for Accounting and Review Services No. 19 (SSARS 19), Compilation and Review Engagements. When conforming

Bridging compensation gaps in a merger

Accounting-firm mergers must overcome numerous obstacles. One of the most common—and challenging—involves compensation and benefits for partners and staff. Merging firms usually have differences in compensation levels, compensation methods and benefits packages. It’s crucial for staff and partner retention that the merging firms combine the varying systems into one without

Valuing Contingent Consideration: Challenges and Solutions

When the FASB statement on business combinations was revised (modifying Statement no. 141 into Statement no. 141(R), now codified as FASB Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 805, Business Combinations), one change required that all items of consideration transferred by the acquirer be measured and recognized at fair value at the

Family Business Transition Planning

Family relationships and values can make succession of family businesses even more challenging than for other enterprises. Here are some suggestions for family businesses that can make succession planning and execution less trying. Obtain a valuation of the business regardless of whether it will be transferred between generations or sold.

Handling of Litigation Contingency Disclosure Facing Greater SEC Scrutiny

The SEC appears to be increasing its scrutiny of compliance with financial statement disclosure rules regarding potential court losses. The heightened attention is intersecting with a three-decades-old treaty for lawyers and accountants forged by the AICPA and the American Bar Association. The JofA spoke with attorney Michael Young, chair of

AICPA Panel Opposes DOL's Proposed Change to Definition of "Fiduciary"

The AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services Executive Committee (FVSEC) submitted a comment letter opposing a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposal to change the definition of the term fiduciary. The FVSEC opposes the change because it would make virtually all valuations prepared for benefit plans, including employee stock ownership plans

Expert Testimony Guidelines for CPA Valuation Analysts

When giving expert testimony, CPA valuation analysts should be prepared to have their reports and testimony withstand the scrutiny of litigation and cross-examination. The following guidelines can help the valuation analyst prepare for potential vulnerabilities that opposing legal counsel may try to exploit. Check your resume. Opposing counsel typically investigates

A Competitive Analysis of Business Valuation Services

The business valuation practice area is maturing, and rapid growth is no longer the norm for the profession’s established firms. Although demand for valuation services is robust, it is harder for firms entering the field to earn superior returns unless they have a competitive advantage such as some existing expertise

Survival of the Analytically Fit: The DNA of an Effective Forensic Accountant

If attorneys could engineer the perfect forensic accountant, 78% of them would choose an accountant with strong analytical abilities. In a 2009 survey commissioned by the AICPA, after analytical skills, attorneys chose, in descending order, the abilities to be detail-oriented, ethical, responsive and insightful as the remaining top five essential

Valuing Art for Tax Purposes

Even people who don’t collect art probably own a painting or sculpture or two. At some point, one of two things is likely to happen: One, the artwork will be given away, perhaps as a noncash charitable contribution for which the owner will claim an itemized deduction, or as a

Article Oversimplifies Becoming a BV Expert

I realize that it’s important to keep the pipeline full of younger CPAs who may develop an interest in the business valuation profession. Some of my colleagues have perceived a definite “aging” among BV’ers, with seemingly fewer younger members picking up the challenge. So I applaud the goal of attempting

Applying Forensic Skepticism to Lost Profits Valuations

Forensic accountants are frequently engaged to review insurance claims for business interruption or lost profits. Owners of privately held companies may inflate loss claims since they have control over the books and records. Business interruption (lost profits) insurance is intended to restore the claimants, not reward them with excess reimbursement.

The CPA's Role in Quantifying Post-Acquisition Dispute Damages

Given today’s environment of bankruptcies, bank failures and recessionary pressure, consummating merger and acquisition transactions is more challenging than ever. The potential disputes arising from the challenges of an M&A transaction are numerous. The following two types of disputes are the focus of this article: working capital disputes regarding whether

How to Get Experience in M&A-Related Disputes

Editor's note: This is a sidebar to "The CPA's Role in Quantifying Post-Acquisition Dispute Damages," March 2010. Most CPAs with an accounting and auditing background have advised a client who has acquired or sold a business or business interest. Disputes may arise related to the M&A transaction as outlined in

Breaking Into Business Valuation

An aging population, increased regulation and the move toward fair value reporting have led to increased demand for valuation services in recent years. As baby boomers approach retirement and start thinking about succession and estate planning, the first step is often valuing the family business. Changes to the tax code

Detecting Circular Cash Flow

Following an initial customer confirmation request with no response, a first-year auditor mails a second and third request, all under the supervision of the auditor-in-charge assigned to the account. Field work begins on the audit, but there is still no response from the customer. Another auditor scanning the cash journal

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How tax reform will impact individual taxpayers

Amy Wang, a CPA who is a senior technical manager for tax advocacy at the AICPA, answers to some of the most common questions on how the new tax reform law will impact individual taxpayers.