Almost every conceivable significant business decision is made in reliance on information compiled by accountants. If you are thinking about buying the stock of a public company, you will undoubtedly take a look at that company's audited financial statements before doing so. If you own a company that employs an auditor, you will undoubtedly want to know what the auditor has to say about your company's financial condition. If you have a major tax obligation, you will undoubtedly seek the advice of a tax accountant to help you comply with the tax law of the United States. You employ an accountant or auditor because you need expertise you can rely on to make good business decisions. Accountants and auditors are expected to perform their work in a professionally competent way.
Failed Stock Offerings and Accounting Audits.
When your accountant or auditor does their work for you improperly, the consequences are often disastrous. Several cases litigated by Lewis & Roberts against accountants and auditors offer good examples. Blue Rhino Corporation (the gas tank company) sued its auditor after the auditor publicly questioned its previous accounting for the company. The questions about Blue Rhino's accounting led to a negative Wall Street Journal article, which led to the failure of a stock offering that was underway at the time. Silverton Financial Services, one of the nation's largest bank holding companies, sued after its subsidiary bank failed due to massive loan underwriting and performance issues that went undetected over a key audit period. A group of Dell Computer executives sued a Big Four accounting firm after the accountants gave improper tax advice concerning the tax treatment of Dell stock options; this improper advice caused the Dell executives to incur massive back taxes, penalties and interest obligations to the IRS. The foregoing lawsuits were each resolved by settlement before or during trial.
The prosecution of a negligence lawsuit against an accountant or auditor will require the use of experts. Lewis & Roberts frequently retains highly qualified experts in the fields of accounting and auditing to help us investigate and evaluate cases. And, once a case begins, the experts we retain will testify about what your accountants and auditors did wrong, and will help identify and quantify your damages.
Accountants and auditors have difficult jobs. Not every accounting error or correction is the result of accounting or auditing malpractice. If you or your company has suffered a financial setback as a result of the work of an accountant or auditor, we can help you determine whether the work met professional standards - and if not, whether it would be beneficial for you to litigate to try and recover your losses.