Traditional Accountant vs. Forensic Accountant: What’s the Difference?
Not everyone understands what I mean when I say I’m a forensic accountant. “So, you work with numbers and finance?” Yes, but not like a traditional accountant. “Are you involved with crime scene investigations?” “Do you look for hidden money?” While that could be the case, here we’ll address forensic accounting in divorce proceedings.
There are plenty of misconceptions like this; many times, people think my responsibilities get lumped into traditional accounting. Here are a few key distinctions to understand when comparing these two types of accountants.
Traditional accountants and forensic accountants can both play a pivotal role in a courtroom setting. However, they are called upon to do different things.
Traditional accountants are typically put on the stand as fact witnesses. This means that they are privy to certain relevant information, and one side will call upon them to testify to that. A forensic accountant on the other hand, is often called as an expert witness. In divorces, the forensic accountant determines values of assets and liabilities, and what the parties’ incomes and expenses are. The forensic accountant is trusted by the judge to give his or her opinion on these matters.
Both forensic accountants and traditional accountants present financial information. The way they are presented, however, is where the differences lie.
Traditional accountants prepare financial information in specified formats. A personal tax return is filed in Form 1040, for example. A forensic accountant divorce miami has more freedom to tailor financial schedules in a way that best explains the topic at hand. This facilitates divorce proceedings, as our presentations are designed to clarify complex financial information.
At the core, both traditional and forensic accountants are dealing with financial issues. How these two professions process and present the numbers is where they diverge. As a forensic accountant, I make sure that people going through a divorce know their current financial situation and what they can expect in the future. The importance of this knowledge cannot be overstated.
If you are considering a divorce or are in the middle of one, contact a forensic account to go over your finances and start preparing for your future.