Forensic accounting is a specialty practice area of accounting that describes engagements that result from actual or anticipated disputes or litigation. It's a field that requires a combination of accounting, auditing and investigative skills.
We have extensive experience in this area and have acted as independent expert witnesses in matters involving:
While not all cases lead to formal litigation, we are able to produce information to a standard that would be suitable for use in a court of law.
These days as more infrastructure is required with limited space, it's not uncommon for businesses to be compulsory acquired by the government. Whether it's for new highways or airports or some other reason, being compulsory acquired can be a daunting prospect. Unfortunately though the result is rarely like The Castle where the acquisition is denied to the government. Worse still, it's not the gravy train that you might expect, particularly where the process can mean your business being compensated in two ways by having to relocate (through lost profits) or on the basis of 'extinguishment' meaning that it cannot be moved to another location so it's as if the government is 'buying' the business.
We have acted for businesses that have been in this situation and having to ensure that the business owner is fairly compensated. This will involve going through the business valuation process.
1. GET A LEGAL COMPULSORY ACQUISITION SPECIALIST
Just like The Castle, having an experienced legal representative who deals with compulsory acquisitions regularly is highly recommended as Denis Denuto discovered.
Generally, legal, accounting and business valuation advice will be covered by the government.
2. TAKE THE OPTION OF GETTING INDEPENDENT ADVICE (PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT)
Usually your business will be approached by a representative of the government who will ask for various pieces of information so that they can make you an offer for your business.
Always take the option of getting a second opinion by an independent expert which will be paid by the government in most cases.
The reason for this is that mistakes can be made and naturally the government will be trying to save the taxpayer as much money as possible by offering you the minimum it possibly can.
Sadly, some business owners are quick to take whatever is offered as they keen to settle and receive the proceeds in a timely manner. This could mean they receive hundreds of thousands of dollars less than they could have despite being advised by the government that they are entitled to independent advice. Typically seeking advice can extend the process by approximately 6 months but it can also achieve in some cases a dramatically different outcome.
Most small business accountants will advise their clients to take the option of getting a second opinion.
If there is a dispute between the government's advisers and your advisers, the Valuer General can come in to provide an additional opinion which is binding on the government (in NSW) if you accept it. Otherwise, it will be off to court.