An interview with… Brian Jones, Director at Forensic Accountants Australia Pty Ltd
Forensic Accountants Australia undertakes assignments in relation to both Forensic Accounting and Business Valuations.
The assignments include all forms of Economic Loss (e.g., Damages and Loss of Profits), Fraud and Investigations, Business Valuations (Family Law, Commercial Disputes and for Non-Court purposes) Commercial Disputes (including Shareholder Disputes, Transactional Disputes, Breach of Contract), Personal Disputes (Breach of Trust, Abuse of Power of Attorney or Executorship), Negligence (Professional, occupational and physical injury) and Proceeds of Crime. Brian Jones is an accredited Forensic Accounting Specialist and also an accredited Business Valuer (accredited by CAANZ – Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand), and below we find out a little more on what he does and how he assists lawyers.
How long have you been involved in Forensic Accounting and Business Valuation work?
We have been involved in Forensic work for over 25 years. The Forensic practice sits side by side with our accounting practice Ahead For Business Pty Ltd which has existed since 1989. During this time large numbers of reports have been written for courts in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, as well as a sizeable number of reports to resolve disputes outside the court system and for non-legal purposes (such as Business Succession, for the purposes of new shareholders or investors and tax issues).
What experience do you have in appearing in Court?
I have appeared in Court at various levels about 20 times. This includes three appearances in the Supreme Court of Victoria and several appearances in the County Court of Victoria, The Family Court of Victoria, The Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Melbourne Magistrates Court.
Have you had International assignments in Forensic Accounting?
Yes, these include assignments relating to the U.S., Malaysia, New Zealand and the UK. An appreciation of local conditions is necessary, but on the whole, forensic accounting crosses borders quite well. The real issue with international assignments is differences in tax systems. A significant tax issue in another country will need local tax expertise. However, in many instances, forensic assignments cross borders comfortably –in areas such as Fraud investigation, Breaches of Trust -especially of Estates and Power of Attorney disputes and Business Valuations.
How do you charge for services and who performs the work?
We have several levels of work allocation. I write the reports – there is no delegation of report writing – I will appear in court as needed. However, we have permanent staff (qualified accountants) who are involved in the analytical work and, in addition, we have highly experienced contractors who are attuned to forensic work.
Further, we have a network of experienced bookkeepers who understand the process of forensic accounting. We allocate work on the basis of the complexity and knowledge required and we find this works very well and the charges apply to this required level. This way we believe we achieve a fair costing for the level of work undertaken and they all sign confidentiality agreements.
Our general policy is not to charge fixed fees. We commence by providing an estimate of costs and then keep the clients informed of costs at suitable points in the case.
What do you like about forensic accounting and Expert Witness work?
Forensic Accounting work is very demanding, but every assignment is different, and this assists the flow of motivation to provide an accurate report of past or future events (as with a business valuation, some economic loss and negligence cases). The aim is to assist in the fair resolution of disputes between businesses and individuals and it is very satisfying when this assistance results in a fair resolution.
Ahead For Business Pty Ltd | Forensic Accountants Australia Pty Ltd
Chartered Accountants & Business Advisors
Suite 103, Level 1, 448 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, Vic 3004, Australia
B : + 61 3 9867 7711
Liability Limited by a Scheme Approved under Professional Standards Legislation