Demystifying Valuation, Economic Damages + Forensic Accounting

Valuation case update: Estate of Streightoff vs Commissioner

In the case of Estate of Streightoff vs Commissioner, the IRS argued that the interest to be valued in a family limited partnership (FLP) was a limited partner interest, not an assignee interest. The Tax Court agreed with the IRS noting characteristics of the property transferred and admission requirements of the FLP. Case background Streightoff …

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Update on transaction multiples

You have probably heard valuation multiples being tossed around by owners and others regarding the value of businesses. The typical multiple referenced is a multiple of EBITDA which is defined as “Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization.” Owners sometimes overestimate the value of their business. Recent market data can be very instructive but must …

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Top 5 red flags of earnings management

Earnings management (“EM”) is the practice of earnings smoothing. Research shows there are three reasons why managers engage in EM. They include: optimal contract design, signaling and rational expectations. One example of an optimal contract design is when management’s compensation is tied to the earnings of the firm. Risk-averse managers will engage in EM to …

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Testifying experts: is technical knowledge enough?

It was after the lunch hour and I was testifying as a CPA expert on an economic damages case. The venue was a superior courthouse in Santa Ana, California. The day was a hot one and I was testifying at a jury trial. I had been retained by the plaintiff. My testimony was laced with …

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Should a CPA testifying expert be a client advocate?

Max was an experienced tax accountant. He had a small CPA firm whose members included him, a receptionist and two staff accountants. Max decided that he wanted to branch out into litigation support services. Before he did, he took courses on how to value a business and eventually got his Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) …

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Protect your business: collusion and increased fraud losses

I recently read an article about fraud within the Massachusetts State Police (MSP). The author, a former MSP trooper, outlined an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The investigation involves a minimum of 46 troopers with the allegations including payroll fraud and conspiracy, among other federal violations. …

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Forensic accounting or forensic economics?

In a previous blog, I discussed the term “forensic accounting” and ultimately provided a very general definition: Forensic accounting is the application of specialized accounting, finance, economics and related knowledge and skills in a legal setting. After publishing that blog, I realized that I may have given short shrift to the term forensic economics. Upon …

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What is money laundering?

Crime is big business both domestically and across the globe and, as a result, money laundering activities are extensive. In fact, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime reports that “[t]he estimated amount of money laundered globally in one year is 2% – 5% of global GDP, or $800 – $2 trillion in current …

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Valuing your business: the impact of company specific risk

When valuing a business using an income approach, a valuation analyst will develop a discount rate or capitalization rate to apply to the expected ongoing income or cash flows of the Company. The discount or capitalization rate (cost of capital) is essentially a rate of return expected by the potential buyer for the investment in …

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Tips for testifying in court – stress may not be that bad

If you have experience testifying in court and you felt no stress of any sort, you must be a robot. Not me. As a CPA, I’ve testified over 150 times in state courts in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and California as well as federal courts in Arizona and Texas. Before I became an accountant, I …

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