Many CPAs begin their careers at traditional public accounting companies, where they spend several years in the tax, audit, or consultancy departments. Larger accounting firms tend to have separate tax, audit, as well as consulting departments. This means that there is little cross-training. A smaller number of accountants work in different roles throughout the year. These engagements include compilation work and a hard tax season. Compilation is a service that assists small businesses in their accounting needs. Some accountants get their start in the “private accounting” (or “industry”) where they work for businesses in a variety accounting roles. A young accountant, especially early in his career may report directly to another CPA. Some acquire the required experience through both public and privately-owned accounting, click here.
It is not difficult to move into forensic accounting from a technical proficiency standpoint. Although there is much to learn in forensic accounting, most CPA’s are competent enough to perform the work. Many forensic accounting professionals will joke that they became expert witnesses after their traditional accounting job was just too tedious. Many enjoy the sports and sparring involved in a deposition, and they look forward the intellectual and professional challenge that comes with staying calm under pressure. Expert witness cases are not the same as family law. The issues, clients, and lawyers are all unique. This is what attracts different types of personalities to expert witness work.
CPAs tend to maintain their tax and audit practices as they work on their forensic accounting systems. Then, when it is time to transition into the role of expert witness and/or valuation expert, many CPAs keep their practices in place. Expert witnessing in business valuation is often a complementary activity to being a CPA. But, these universes are very distinct. One difference is that the universe of business valuations is bigger than CPAs. Numerous organizations offer business valuation expertise. Nearly all expert witness accountants in the field are CPA’s. Experts form relationships with a limited number of lawyers over time. Expert witness practices are usually built upon just 20 of the most prominent litigators calling upon the CPA for engagements. A family law practice can be grown by leveraging other CPAs’ and staff assignments. Marketing professional service is one of the most disliked activities for accountants. This is a difficult task that not many people can do well. Expert witnesses that are highly skilled socialize with attorneys at American Bar Association meetings (state and local), and give continuing legal education. Forensic auditors may also send direct mail, invite lawyers at lunches, send email newsletters, or advertise.