Forensic accountants weighing the scales of justice

WhilE Sheffield is home to a wealth of good lawyers, as demonstrated in this review, it has very few forensic accountants whom they call on. Specialist skills such as this are increasingly focused in the stronger financial centres such as Leeds and Manchester.

However, one of the few exceptions to this is local chartered accountants Barber Harrison & Platt, which has a well established and experienced forensic accounting unit.

The team, which is led by Philip Allsop, has been very busy during the past 12 months, assisting with substantial cases arising from divorce, shareholder disputes, personal injury and professional negligence. It makes for an interesting and challenging life!

Specialist investigation skills are provided by Joanne Winfield and, on occasions, these are very useful when we are delving into the affairs of an errant husband who is doing his best to hide his assets during his divorce proceedings! More commonly, these skills are used in fraud and other financial crime.

Many criminal cases now also have a sting in the tail in the form of proceedings to confiscate the proceeds of crime. It is important for defendants that these are scrutinised thoroughly to ensure they are accurate.

If they cannot be satisfied by assets available at the time of the conviction, any legitimate future earnings will be confiscated when they arise. This is hardly an incentive for offenders to go clean and so must make rehabilitation harder. Whether or not this is in the interests of rehabilitation is a matter for debate.

However, that is the law and whilst a mere “number cruncher” would not contemplate entering that debate, we do have the skills to check that the numbers are fair.

If you need any forensic accounting assistance with a civil or criminal case, expert help is available locally in Sheffield.

Please give us a call.