Press Release



James Schiavone

Expert Witnesses Require Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills 

New AICPA Expert Witness Skills Workshop April 28-30 in Washington, DC 
Published March 24, 2011

New York (March 24, 2011) –  Performing complex forensic accounting and business valuation engagements is only part of what it takes to become an expert witness. It is also important to be able to articulate conclusions and analyses in a way that a judge or jury can understand. To help experts gain valuable testimony experience and increase their confidence on the witness stand, the AICPA is offering the AICPA Expert Witness Skills Workshop, scheduled for April 28-30 in Washington, DC.

The average outside litigation cost for Fortune 200 companies was nearly $115 million in 2008, up 73 percent from $66 million in 2000, according to a recent survey. Those numbers are likely to go up as litigation increases as a result of the financial crisis. Twenty-five percent of senior corporate counsels in the U.S. and the UK expect the number of legal disputes their companies face to increase in the next year, with more than 40 percent of those in the U.S. citing the poor economy as the reason, according to a recent survey by Fulbright & Jaworski. The average fee expected per assignment for those working as expert witnesses in business & financial cases was $21,514, according the 2010 Expert Pages Expert Fee Report.

CPAs looking to enhance their forensic skills will learn to clearly and convincingly articulate their opinions so as not to crumble under what can be an intensive cross examination, and will learn more about preparing effective reports, surviving Daubert challenges and other issues.

The workshop will feature judges, experts and attorneys from a broad range of disciplines to provide guidance and advice. Additionally, there will be Q&A sessions, in-depth discussions, case studies, interactive demonstrations, culminating in a mock trial. Participants may either work with a case study focused on business valuation or an economic damages analysis report.

“Good expert witnesses can explain how they reached their conclusions in terms a layman can understand and withstand the scrutiny of a cross examination,” said Stacy Preston Collins, CPA/ABV, CFF, chair of the conference steering committee and managing director at Financial Research Associates. “We designed this workshop as a way to provide CPAs and financial professionals with practical experience they can use in gearing up to work in a courtroom environment.”

Among other things, this forum will cover:

  • Testimony Demonstrations and Analysis
  • Participant Practice Sessions - Direct Testimony and Cross Examination
  • One-on-one Video Review & Critique by Seasoned Attorneys
  • Effective Communications Presentation by Expert Trial Consultant\
  • Testimony at a Mock Trial

The workshop is geared towards CPAs with basic forensic accounting or valuation skills looking to become an expert witness or to take the next step from preparing damages and valuation reports to testifying in court.

“To become an expert witness, you need to master a wide-range of very technical subject matters. Effectively communicating that type of information during a trial requires practice and a different skill set that is difficult to develop outside of a courtroom setting,” said Collins. “The mock trial portion of the workshop will give participants practical experience and put these new skills to the test.”

The conference will be held April 28-30 at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC. For more information or to register please visit:  www.cpa2biz.com/expert.

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