Freed Maxick Talks Fraud, Forensic Accounting, and Business Valuation

By Joe Aquino, CPA, CVA on June 11, 2018
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Joe Aquino, CPA, CVA

Director | Freed Maxick


Guidance for Businesses in Buffalo that mean business

Recently, Freed Maxick Directors Tim McPoland and Joe Aquino recorded a segment for WBEN930 AM’s Buffalo Means Business program focusing on two topics: fraud investigation and business valuation,

Freed Maxick Talks About Fraud and Business Valuation

You can hear their entire recording by clicking on the icon, but here are the highlights of their insights, observation and guidance:

Fraud and Forensic Accounting 

  • Today, the average embezzlement is in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, where 20 years ago, the average was in the $20,000 to $30,000 range
  • A fraud can go undetected for many years, and is typically discovered by accident
  • It is not that difficult to find and trace the beginning and path of fraud, but you don’t want to reveal your hand until all the trails are investigated and the scope of the fraud is uncovered
  • Securing all bank and accounting records makes the discovery of a fraud easier to pinpoint and prosecute
  • If you suspect fraud or embezzlement by an employee, call your CPA immediately and maintain confidentiality to begin an investigation

Business Valuation and Litigation?

  • Issues between shareholders who disagree about the value of a business are one of the key reasons why a business valuation expert is needed in a litigation matter
  • While not an exact science, a business valuation utilizes historical and projected financial and operational data, backed by market or industry specific financial and operational metrics
  • A professional business valuation expert will search for anomalies, non-reoccurring transactions, unreasonable executive compensation and other oddities that can affect the worth of a business, and then normalize their findings to reach a conclusion about the value of a business
  • There can be a crossover between fraud and business valuation in the case where the valuator discovers unusual or backdoor payments by a controlling shareholder that impact the worth value of the business.
  • It is important for a business to have a current, updated Buy/Sell agreement, which defines the valuation approach in various situations. 

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