June 1, 2014

Without a shadow of doubt – The 'single expert' regime

SV Partners Forensics is a leading forensic accounting division that brings unsurpassed professional and technical expertise to each assignment. Within the ‘single expert’ regime of family law, quite often there is doubt expressed by the parties regarding the valuation opinion provided by the single expert. As a result, we are often engaged as a ‘shadow expert’ to clarify the doubt conveyed and provide clear guidance as to an accurate opinion.

Recently a single expert was appointed by the Family Court to value a Café located in southern Sydney. A fundamental part of the single expert’s opinion was that he assumed the financial information supplied by the parties was materially correct.

Subsequently, SV Partners was engaged to critique this report as there was significant doubt regarding the accuracy of the financial information provided. In order to ensure an accurate opinion was able to be provided, the following actions were undertaken:

  • Stress tested the validity of the sales records of the business by undertaking an observation of the business activity of the Café over a period of time, unbeknown to the operators of the business.
  • Ensuring the observations undertaken were able to be accurately interpreted by using a pre categorised sheet to record the product sales and clear processes and procedures to be adhered to.
  • Subsequent analysis of these results indicated there was an understatement of income of approximately 70% during the observation period. This comparison was able to be achieved by comparing the observation results to the businesses sale records as subpoenaed by the instructing solicitor.

Using the conclusion drawn from the observations, SV Partners was able to provide an alternative opinion of the value of the business and support the doubt previously raised in relation to the single expert’s opinion.

Quite often, where doubt is raised regarding a single expert’s opinion, there can also be confusion as to how to best overcome this. SV Partners Forensics has the ability to remove any shadow of doubt by identifying practical and achievable solutions that ensure the position is clear.

If you would like any more information about how our forensic services team can assist you, please contact SV Partners on 1800 246 801.

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