Accountant/CPA Malpractice Lawyers - Federal Lawyer
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Accountant/CPA Malpractice Lawyers

Our Lawyers Defend Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) Who Are Facing Allegations of Accounting Malpractice

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Accountant/CPA Malpractice Team Lead envelope icon Contact Nick

As a certified public accountant (CPA), facing accounting malpractice allegations presents serious risks. Not only could you and your firm be facing substantial liability, but the allegations could trigger professional disciplinary action as well. As a result, you need to defend yourself by all means available, and this starts with putting experienced accountant malpractice lawyers on your side.

At Oberheiden P.C., we provide experienced legal representation for CPAs and accounting firms that are facing malpractice allegations. Our lawyers handle all aspects of the process, from investigating the client’s allegations to working with your (or your firm’s) accounting malpractice insurer and targeting a favorable resolution by the most efficient means possible. If you are facing professional discipline as a result of the allegations, we can represent you in your state licensing board hearing as well.

Accounting Malpractice Cases We Handle

We handle all types of accounting malpractice for both CPAs and firms. We work with malpractice insurers as well. Our practice includes serving as defense counsel for matters involving allegations including (but not limited to) these examples of accounting malpractice:

Providing Incorrect Tax Advice

Providing incorrect tax advice is among the most common grounds for malpractice claims against CPAs and accounting firms. When taxpayers face additional liability due to audits and investigations, they will often seek to hold their accountant or accounting firm that did their tax preparation responsible. While CPAs and accounting firms will be liable for providing incorrect tax advice in some cases, there are various reasons why taxpayers may be responsible for their own underreporting or underpayment as well.

Establishing Unlawful Tax Shelters

While there are several well-established tax strategies and corporate structures that can be used to lawfully reduce taxpayers’ liability to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), these strategies and structures often walk the line of unlawful tax avoidance. If a taxpayer faces allegations of using an unlawful tax shelter after relying on professional accounting advice, this is highly likely to lead to malpractice allegations as well.

Preparing False or Fraudulent Returns

Along with providing incorrect tax advice and establishing unlawful tax shelters, another common cause of accounting malpractice claims is preparing allegedly false or fraudulent returns. Of course, while CPAs can be held responsible for failing to adhere to the relevant accounting principles, there is only so much they can do to ensure that they have all of the information they need from their clients. As a result, in many cases, errors on clients’ returns will not trigger malpractice liability.

Preparing Incorrect Financial Reports

Outside of the tax realm, CPAs and accounting firms can face malpractice claims for allegedly preparing incorrect financial statements for shareholders or other audiences. Here, too, while errors may be an accountant’s fault in some cases, there are various reasons why malpractice allegations in this scenario may be unwarranted.

Conducting Inadequate Due Diligence

In both tax and non-tax scenarios, accountants must ensure that they are conducting adequate due diligence. This is essential for forming informed opinions and providing sound tax and financial advice. While accountants can—and must—rely on their clients in many cases, they must also know when they need additional information in order to meet their professional responsibilities.

Negligent Accounting Errors

Negligent accounting errors that lead companies to make false statements or misguided decisions are another frequent cause of malpractice claims in the corporate accounting scenario. From flawed projections based on incorrect calculations to Accounts Receivable errors or Accounts Payable accounting errors, these mistakes can take a variety of different forms, and they can present a variety of different challenges and opportunities for asserting a successful defense.

Auditing Malpractice

Companies rely on audits for various reasons, from meeting their reporting obligations to uncovering redundancies, inefficiencies, and fraud. As a result, when errors lead to inaccurate audit results, this will frequently lead to accounting malpractice allegations as well, resulting in an accounting malpractice case.

Failure to Maintain Accountant-Client Confidentiality

Breaching accountant-client confidentiality is a serious allegation that can expose CPAs and their firms to substantial liability. But, here too, CPAs and accounting firms will often have strong defenses available. For example, even if a disclosure occurred, if the client has disclosed the same information, or if the disclosure was required by law, then malpractice allegations are unwarranted, and the allegations should not lead to liability.

Failure to Detect Fraud or Embezzlement

Falling victim to fraud or embezzlement is another scenario in which companies will often point the finger at their accountants. But, this is also yet another scenario in which various defenses may apply. For example, in many cases, what may appear to be clear evidence of fraud or embezzlement in hindsight may not have been sufficient to raise red flags in the ordinary course of business.

Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest that compromise accountants’ advice, impartiality, or judgment can also give rise to malpractice claims in many cases. Generally, CPAs and accounting firms have a legal duty to act in their clients’ best interests; and, if they cannot serve two clients’ best interests simultaneously, then they may need to consider withdrawing their representation. With that said, accounting firms can—and regularly do—represent competing companies, and this alone is not evidence of an impermissible conflict.

Theft, Self-Dealing, Insider Trading, and Other Crimes

Allegations of theft, self-dealing, insider trading, and other crimes can lead to civil malpractice litigation in addition to criminal law enforcement proceedings. As the burdens of proof in civil and criminal litigation differ, defending against an accounting malpractice claim may involve a very different strategy from defending against any associated criminal charges. Along with our accounting malpractice defense experience, we have significant experience defending clients in white-collar criminal cases as well.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden

Founder

Attorney-at-Law

Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney

Partner

Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

How We Handle Accounting Malpractice Cases

When engaged as defense counsel in accounting malpractice cases, we take a swift, comprehensive, and outcome-oriented approach to protecting our clients’ interests. In doing so, we rely on extensive knowledge of the relevant legal and accounting principles, and we focus on achieving positive results as cost-effectively as possible. While individual circumstances vary, this approach generally involves:

  • Investigating and Thoroughly Evaluating the Client’s Allegations – In every case, we begin by investigating and thoroughly evaluating the client’s allegations. Gaining a clear and unbiased understanding of the circumstances at hand is essential for formulating a sound defense strategy.
  • Assessing Viable Defenses – Once we know the relevant facts, then we can consider potential defenses and begin advising the CPA or accounting firm regarding the options that are on the table.
  • Formulating a Comprehensive Defense Strategy – Working in close collaboration with our clients, we formulate comprehensive defense strategies that address all allegations and focus on leveraging the principles, protections, and resources that are available to our clients.
  • Targeting a Favorable Result in Light of the Circumstances – We formulate our defense strategies with a specific outcome in mind. Whether this involves seeking to dismiss a taxpayer’s or company’s allegations against our client or negotiating a favorable settlement depends on the circumstances involved.
  • Providing Defense for Any Related Disciplinary or Criminal Matters – When necessary, we also provide defense for any related disciplinary or criminal matters in parallel with our accounting malpractice defense representation.

FAQs: Successfully Defending Against Allegations of Accounting Malpractice

What Should I Do if I Am Facing Accounting Malpractice Allegations as a CPA?

If you are facing malpractice allegations as a CPA, it is extremely important that you speak with a defense lawyer as soon as possible. While you may have a variety of defenses available, asserting these defenses effectively will require experienced legal representation. If you have malpractice insurance, your defense lawyer can communicate with your insurance company on your behalf as well.

What Are Some Potential Defenses to CPA Malpractice Allegations?

Potential defenses to CPA malpractice allegations range from demonstrating that you provided sound advice to demonstrating that your client is responsible for failing to disclose necessary information. With that said, the burden of proof rests with your client; and, if your client cannot substantiate its allegations, then no liability is warranted.

Do I Need to Report Accounting Malpractice Allegations to My State Licensing Board?

It depends. Licensed accountants will need to report malpractice allegations to their state licensing boards in many cases. Our lawyers can help you understand (and meet) your obligations while executing your defense.

What Does a Client Need to Prove to Establish a Claim for Accounting Malpractice?

Establishing a claim for accounting malpractice requires proof that a CPA or accounting firm failed to meet the requite standards of professional practice. This is a high bar, and this means that CPAs and firms facing malpractice allegations will be able to execute effective defenses in many cases.

Should I Engage Defense Counsel if I Am Facing Accounting Malpractice Allegations as a CPA?

Yes, to ensure that you are making informed decisions and effectively assert any defenses you have available, you will need experienced defense counsel on your side. Our lawyers can help, and we encourage you to contact us promptly for a complimentary consultation.


Speak with a Senior Accountant/CPA Malpractice Lawyer at Oberheiden P.C. in Confidence

If you would like to speak with an accounting malpractice attorney at Oberheiden P.C., we invite you to get in touch. Call 888-68-1745 or request a complimentary consultation online to speak with one of our senior lawyers in strict confidence.

Why Clients Trust Oberheiden P.C.

  • 2,000+ Cases Won
  • Available Nights & Weekends
  • Experienced Trial Attorneys
  • Former Department of Justice Trial Attorney
  • Former Federal Prosecutors, U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Former Agents from FBI, OIG, DEA
  • Serving Clients Nationwide
Email Us 888-680-1745 866-781-9539
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