Lawyer Monthly - May 2022

of arbitration and litigation is that the overarching role of an expert is to assist the Tribunal/Court on matters within in the expert’s expertise whether an expert has been appointed by a party, both parties or the Tribunal. From a practical sense the expert should not argue the most beneficial possible case from the perspective of his or her instructing party but consider all available evidence objectively and arrive at an independent view of the issues at hand. If experts were not independent, how would Tribunals and Courts come to a decision on matters outside their own expertise like technical accounting issues? That said two experts may have differing views due to: instructions on factual assumptions, reliance on other experts, time available and information asymmetry. Forensic accountants may also take on advisory roles (as opposed to expert roles) either alongside the arbitration/ litigation process or in the context of expert determinations. In these cases, the forensic accountant’s duty is to their client and as such they may be 67 MAY 2022 | WWW.LAWYER-MONTHLY.COM THOUGHT LEADER - SANDY COWAN Contact Sandy Cowan, Partner, Mazars LLP 30 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7AU Tel: +44 (0)207 063 4569 Mobile: +44 07795 401183 E: Sandy Cowan Sandy Cowan is a partner in the Crisis and Disputes team at Mazars LLP. He is a Chartered Accountant and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Sandy is also an experienced forensic accountant and has worked in the context of a wide range of dispute resolution, investigation and other forensic accounting cases. Who’s Who Legal describes him as being lauded by clients and “a personable expert who is analytical, knowledgeable and full of creative ideas”. in a position to assist their clients in presenting their damages case in the best possible light. What skills do you bring to bear as part of this work? Forensic accountants have to be able to analyse complex data, compute the correct answer then present the findings in a clear, robust and logical manner to the readers, typically lawyers (as far as disputes are concerned). Forensic accountants will require an understanding of the necessary legal, regulatory and accounting frameworks which relate to the matter at hand as well as all the necessary information required to perform their work. They should be able to make justified assumptions and judgements and be articulate when presenting their findings. Having qualified as an auditor initially as well as my forensic work over the last 15 years, I have a broad range of experience which can be applied to most situations. I love getting into the detail, which is essential when working on forensic cases as there is no concept of materiality, and an understanding of that detail is essential when it comes to giving evidence in a hearing. You have worked on post-acquisition warranty claims. How do these types of disputes typically arise and how do you assist your clients in such cases? Post-acquisition claims typically (although not always) arise from completion accounts disputes, earn-out disputes or warranty claims. Completion accounts disputes arise post-acquisition when the parties are doing a trueup of the closing balance sheet at completion, while earn-out disputes are similar to completion accounts disputes but evolve around the calculation of additional consideration to be earned at a later point in time. Warranty disputes are, as the name suggests,

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