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Dispute advisory & investigations

As business becomes ever more challenging, the size and complexity of disputes makes it important that they are resolved as quickly as possible, with the best available outcome. First Accountant provides expert witness solutions and investigation services for disputes, drawing on service expertise from around the firm and operating across all sector specialisms.

Our team is a highly specialized unit in our London office with extensive experience in dealing with disputes advisory and investigations. We work closely with our clients and their lawyers to present the best case possible, expedite the legal process and provide meaningful commercial solutions, to enable you to get back to business.

Disputes advice

When business or personal interests are under the scrutiny, you will need professional support to navigate through the process.  It may be the case that your organization has suffered from fraud or corruption, or is looking to reduce its exposure.

We provide businesses and private individuals with a full service, drawing on experts specializing in computer risk management, actuarial assessments, UK and overseas tax investigations, private client tax, corporate finance and counter fraud and bribery.

We can advise you and your business separately or in conjunction with your lawyers. A hallmark of our service is our relationship with lawyers and barristers. Our familiarity with the legal process means that we can concentrate on your needs and issues, with a keen focus on bringing solutions to the table.

Valuations & IP

There will come a time when you need to understand the value of your business or the assets that you manage. A valuation may be needed:

for corporate governance or regulatory compliance;

to support critical strategic decision making such as planning an acquisition or disposal;

to assist with resolving disputes between shareholders or business partners;

as a fundamental part of operational management in monitoring portfolio performance or maximising shareholder value.

Valuation is a complex and controversial subject, all businesses are unique and face different competitive pressures. The value of any company or asset is intrinsically linked to the future income that it will generate. These future income streams are normally uncertain.

Valuation requires an in depth understanding of the asset being valued, the market in which it operates, the company that owns it and its competitive strengths and weaknesses. It requires analysis of financial and non-financial information and assess other factors such as the legal and regulatory environment.

Valuation requires the right combination of commercial insight, technical expertise, experience and professional judgement. Our valuation team works closely with clients to understand their needs and to develop bespoke solutions to complex valuation issues. We focus on understanding business dynamics and the key value drivers of the sector in which it operates.

Our team has extensive experience in valuing companies and assets across a range of industries. We have extensive sector knowledge derived from both consultancy and executive management experience to determine the appropriate valuation methodology to provide well-informed, insightful, robust and transparent valuation opinions.

Computer forensics

Our Dispute analysis & investigations  team are supported by computer forensic specialists who are able to provide a range of IT services in conjunction with our wider offering, for example as part of an investigation or expert witness appointment.

IT users leave traces on computers and other digital devices and our computer forensics service tracks those trails to present clients with a clear report of historic activity, either on a specific device or relating to specific individuals. We recognise that critical evidence often needs to be secured immediately and are able to respond quickly to clients demands. We are also able to work around clients day-to-day operations and work with live systems.  All our work is carried out confidentially and with discretion. Our expertise covers:

·         hard disk imaging & analysis;

·         live forensics (no downtime);

·         digital document analysis;

·         deleted data recovery;

·         password tracking;

·         imaging and analysis of removable media, such as USB sticks, DVDs etc.;

·         imaging and analysis of other electronic devices, including mobile phones, iPods and iPads.

In a recent case, First Accountant were appointed to conduct an investigation into allegations of employee misconduct. The computer forensics team supported the investigation by imaging and analysing the employees hard drive and other devices including a Blackberry and a USB stick. Investigations were also conducted into the employees historical access rights to company data and transfers of data to and from a personal email account. The results of the investigation assisted the company in assessing the extent of the employees actions and their impact on the business, as well as informing management of weaknesses to be addressed going forward.

Counter fraud and bribery

Reducing the risk of financial and reputational losses as a result of fraud, bribery and corruption is a critical aspect of global business. In many instances, it is easier to increase profits by reducing fraud rather than increasing productivity or efficiency, with many companies choosing a proactive action not reaction approach as a opposed to  simply investigating fraud once it is discovered. Robust risk management and a sound corporate governance and policy framework will only be successful if it includes a comprehensive strategic and operational approach to countering fraud, bribery and corruption.

First Accountant offers a range of services designed to help you create and embed a strong anti-fraud/corruption culture and build deterrence/prevention and detection strategies and processes through awareness, training, policies and controls.

Unfortunately, there will always be a need for investigations - these should be conducted professionally and cost-effectively without question. We are able to conduct such investigations, gathering evidence to a standard that can be used in criminal, civil, disciplinary and regulatory proceedings.