Expert testimony – factors to consider

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Expert testimony is a common consideration in the areas of business valuation and forensic accounting. The bulk of what I do involves preparing a valuation report, calculation of damages, analysis of lost profits, etc. to provide a fair platform for negotiation. However, in some engagements, negotiation is not successful, and a trial is required for resolution. It is in these trial situations where expert testimony may be required.

Expert testimony is not as intimidating as a it sounds. It simply entails a qualified individual providing explanations to simplify and help resolve an issue in a trial setting.

What are some important factors to consider for selecting an expert witness?

  1. Qualification

In order to be accepted by the court as an expert witness, an individual must be qualified in his or her field. Some important factors include, certifications, accreditations, experience in related practice, and previous acceptance as an expert in the field.

I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of Illinois, am Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, have specialized in the areas of business valuation and forensic accounting since 2013, and have testimony experience as an accepted expert in the fields of accounting and valuation.

2. Presentation

In most cases, no one else in the court room has a background in accounting. To be effective, an expert must know his or her opinion well enough to explain any one piece of the analysis in plain speech.

I prepare my own analyses and reports so that I am inherently familiar with the resulting opinion. Furthermore, I have experience in academia which provides a great background in reasoning and explanation.

3. Impartiality

While an attorney is an advocate for his or her client, an expert is an advocate for his or her opinion. Expert testimony is only effective if it is objective and impartial. A biased testimony is always obvious and does not serve any party well.

I consider my work a reflection of my professional reputation and experience. I hold objectivity as my highest priority to best serve my clients.