Welcome to Hutton, Kruse & Fink, CPAS, a firm of forensic accountants!
If you have found this site, you most likely have been researching forensic accounting.
We are a firm of forensic accountants, exclusively devoted to investigative analysis for over 25 years!
We are located in the Chicago metro area and serve local as well as national entities.
We have broad experience in a variety of industries and financial situations.
If you are wondering if you need to hire a forensic accountant to perform a financial investigation, you very likely need one. We are confident that we have the expertise to help you resolve your issues.
We will introduce our professionals to you and what we can do for you.
You can contact us for FREE by email or call us at: 847.419.0369
Founded in 1990, Hutton, Kruse & Fink has provided high quality, concise forensic financial analyses used by attorneys in litigation matters for over a quarter of a century.
Our professionals have the credentials that are respected in state and federal court systems and have significant experience in all facets of the litigation cycle including expert testimony.
Mark Hutton, CPA, CFF, Cr. FA, CFE
Mark is one of the original founders of HKF and has been performing investigative accounting analyses since the early 1980s. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1979 and four professional designations, all related to accounting with an emphasis in investigative or forensic accounting. Mark's career includes a background with one of the largest public accounting firms in the world as well as a privately held corporation with several operating divisions where he first became involved with financial analyses of an investigative nature. He began his career as a partner with HKF in 1990. Mark has spoken to numerous organizations and written several articles that have been published in industry publications devoted to fraud investigations. He is a member of several related professional organizations on a state and national level.
Fred J. Kruse, CPA, CFF, CFE
Fred's educational background includes an accounting degree from North Park University. He has also achieved certification in three professional designations that help to qualify him as an expert in financial investigations. Fred Kruse began his career with a well known international manufacturing company and progressed to another corporation with manufacturing divisions, where Fred honed his skills in the investigative aspects of accounting in a corporate environment. He dedicated himself to the forensic accounting specialty in 1988 and co-founded HKF in 1990. Fred has spoken to numerous client groups about the ins and outs of forensic investigations and has taught classes on some of the specific requirements of this type of work. Fred is a member of professional organizations, relating to his career, at both the state and national level.
David Fink, CPA, CFE
After gaining experience including auditing, tax, small business accounting, ERISA compliance and internal control system development, Dave joined HKF in 1992 and has served as the partner in charge of the Indianapolis regional office. David's educational background includes an accounting degree from the University of Notre Dame. David has spoken to numerous client and industry groups regarding forensic accounting services and has also been published as an author of articles regarding Ponzi schemes and the application of professional accounting standards to forensic accounting engagements. Dave is a member of several state and national professional organizations and also has devoted his spare time to charity endeavors such as Special Olympics, Big Brothers and Junior Achievement.
Trusted Certifications for Financial Expert Witnesses
CPA – Certified Public Accountant
CFE – Certified Fraud Examiner
CFF – Certified in Financial Forensics
Cr.FA – Certified Forensic Accountant
CGMA – Chartered Global Management Accountant
The types of services that Hutton, Kruse & Fink provides are flexible and can be tailored to your specific needs. We have experience dealing with varying types of businesses including C-Corporations, S-Corporations, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietorships. The most common industries that we deal with are:
Consulting, Accountants, Financial Planning, Banking, Rental Property, Real Estate.
Following are examples of litigation and special investigation matters for which our professionals have provided analyses that served to resolve the outcomes:
A tea Import Company sustained damage to its inventory. The company claimed damages in excess of $1.1 million. We were hired to prepare a forensic analysis of the company's financial records. We calculated damages of $275,000. The file settled out of court for $300,000.
Theft of Equipment and Supplies
A landscape company claimed a theft of equipment and supplies totaling $240,000. We were hired to evaluate the amount based on the books and records of the company and those of the owner. The company had three locations in two states. Our analysis did not support any damages. The company settled its claim out of court for $10,000.
Fire Damage to Inventory
A construction company had a fire that damaged all of its inventory and supplies. The company claimed damages totaling in excess of $350,000. We prepared a forensic analysis of the company's financial records. We calculated damages of $140,000. The suit settled out of court for our calculated amount.
Dental Practice Computer Crash
A dental practice suffered a computer crash of its practice management software. The backups did not work, with the most current workable backup being 14 months old. The practice claimed damages in excess of $700,000. We prepared a financial analysis that calculated lost practice income of $190,000. The files settled in appraisal for $240,000.
Fire Damage to Inventory
A large scrap / recycling company had a severe fire that damaged the company's entire inventory. The company claimed a loss in excess of $2.4 million. We performed an analysis of the financial records of the company and calculated an inventory loss of less than $700,000. The company accepted our analysis out of court.
Theft of Specialty Inventory
We prepared an analysis of a claim submitted by a customizing auto detailing business for inventory theft. We concluded that documentation was insufficient to quantify a loss. An arbitration panel found in our client's favor.
Theft of Electronics Inventory
An electronics retailer filed a claim for a substantial amount of stolen inventory from the retailer. Our analysis concluded that the documentation provided did not support the amount claimed. The jury found in our client's favor.
Embezzlement by Administrator
We documented thefts of cash and company assets by a member of management resulting in recovery from fidelity coverage and pending prosecution of the fraudster.
We consulted throughout the deposition of the theft suspects to provide the interrogating attorney instances where statements made by suspects were inconsistent with previously made statements by the witness, or another suspect or with company policy. The company recovered under the fidelity policy and suspects were prosecuted.
Personal / Residential
A homeowner had a house fire. The homeowner claimed damages of $275,000 to the dwelling and personal property damages (contents) of $300,000. We were hired to prepare a financial profile of the homeowner. The file went to trial and resulted in a verdict with no damages awarded.
We performed a financial motive profile of the owners of a home destroyed by arson and provided testimony in court which supported the successful denial of the homeowners' claim for $525,000 in damages and the successful criminal prosecution of the arsonist.
A homeowner claimed that $1.2 million in artwork was stolen from his home. We reviewed documentation to present a financial profile of the homeowner. The case went to trial and the verdict came in with no damages awarded to the homeowner.
Slip and Fall / Accident
An entrepreneur had an accident at a hair salon, where she claimed that she later experienced extreme headaches that caused her to not be able to concentrate on her business and eventually the business failed. We analyzed historical information that indicated that each of her previous five businesses all failed in a manner similar to the business in question and that the reason revolved around expenditures made for the personal comfort and status of the business owner. The case never made it to court and the liability carrier paid no damages related o the business failure.
Pitfalls to Avoid in Interruption of Medical Practices
By Fred Kruse, CPA, CFF, CFE - Hutton, Kruse & Fink, Ltd., Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
In today's business environmentIn today's business environment, management is looking for ways to improve the bottom line by reducing costs.
One of the ways that insurers are attempting to reduce the cost of claim adjustment is by employing the use of a template for business interruption / time element claims. In many cases, these templates can be very useful from a time spent point of view and sometimes from a cost / benefit point of view as well.
However, there are certain times when the utilization of a template for these types of claims can prove to be expensive to the insurance company
such as when: An overworked adjuster is focusing more on completing the template than what the documentation utilized as a source is portraying about the business. The business itself does not report routine expenses in a way that would normally be expected and in the categories that are used in the template. The environment in which the business operates impacts the actual collection of revenue normally charged or recognized in reports. The claim submission includes descriptions that appear and are incorrectly assumed to correspond with normal revenue and expense categories seen in other businesses. This can include labeling expenses as "extra" which are actually ongoing or "continuing" expenses. Reliance on descriptions used in claim submissions for utilizing the template and settling a claim that eventually finds its way to subrogation and then the third party insurer challenges the settlement and claimed amounts which were paid in settling the claim are denied and become costs of the claim administration for the insurer.
Medical / Dental Practices
One type of business that does not lend itself particularly well to the use of a template in business interruption situations is a medical /dentist practice. We are routinely asked to review these types of claims by insurers that utilize templates or that have discovered that there is additional analysis that must be done on these claims in order to arrive at a settlement amount that approaches "actual loss sustained". We routinely see claims for dentists and medical practices that would be overpaid by more than 100 percent (some as high as 300 percent) if the analysis that was needed regarding collections and operating expenses was not performed. For a claim under $5,000 this may not seem significant but when the template spits out an amount of $50,000 and higher, it is time to step back and take a second and third look at why the template provided that amount and what might not be considered in the mechanics of the template scenario.
All Workers May not be Employees
In a service business like a medical/dental practice, it is normal to assume that the largest component of operating expenses would be payroll, since you have to have personnel and employees to provide the service. However, just like the insurance companies, these practices are looking at ways to reduce their costs as well and they might be utilizing numerous independent contractors that can serve the practice without the cost of benefits. An analysis of payroll expenses incurred prior to the loss compared to payroll expenses during the loss may indicate that payroll is 100 percent continuing. What is typically missed is that the cost associated with independent contractors also needs to be identified and treated as non-continuing. These expenses are not necessarily reported in a category that is readily identified and may be "buried" or "hidden" in another category on the income statement or tax return. The non-use of independent contractors can be a significant factor in the calculation of lost practice/business income.
It's Not How Much Revenue You Bill... It's What You Collect
How much a medical or dental practice collects on billings is an important consideration in the overall process of settling a claim. Depending on the specific location and management practices employed by the insured, the amount collected for every $100 billed can be as high as $95 or as low as $20. This is where we see the greatest shortcoming of relying solely on the use of a template. All would agree that potentially paying out over 300 percent more on a claim than was actually sustained in a loss is certainly an area that should be considered when evaluating costs. The analysis of the collection percentage is not a difficult analysis to perform for an accountant or anyone that has some business background; however it may involve using a different set of documents and different time periods for each analysis. Tax returns and income statements for the practice may not necessarily provide amounts that incorporate collection percentages. We would be happy to discuss options with any insurers or adjusters about how we can assist in these types of claims. We can also provide free on site education about these situations.
Investigating an Employee Dishonesty Claim
By Jim Howe, CPA, CFE - Hutton, Kruse & Fink, Ltd., Buffalo Grove, Illinois and Daniel Nolan, Esquire - O'Hagan, Smith & Amundsen LLC, Chicago, Illinois.
Based on the results of a study performed
By the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and reported in their 2002 Report to the Nation - Occupational Fraud and Abuse, the organization estimated, at that time, that six percent of revenues are lost as a result of occupational fraud and abuse. Applied to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, this translates to losses of approximately $600 billion, or about $4,500 per employee at the time the report was issued.
Insurance companies offer employee dishonesty coverage and pay a good portion of the billions of dollars stolen annually from insured employers by employees.
Once an employer has been paid, the respective insurer often attempts to recover their payment from the dishonest employee (depending on the policy limit and the amount of theft). This is referred to as subrogation.
To be successful in recovering a payment from a dishonest employee in a civil trial
the plaintiff insurer must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant caused the plaintiff injury, in this case a financial injury. The plaintiff must show the facts are more than 50 percent in their favor as opposed to the defendant's favor. It is the duty of the individuals investigating the claim to develop sufficient facts and evidence such that counsel for the insurer can easily establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant owes the plaintiff.
The most important part of any insurance related employee dishonesty investigation is verifying that the suspected individual is an actual employee of the insured business.
The employee dishonesty policy covers only thefts by employees. Thefts by independent contractors and others may be covered by a separate coverage or policy.
Employee or Independent Contractor?
One of the easiest ways to determine that a suspected individual is an employee is to ask the insured for evidence that, in administrative and tax matters, the individual is treated as an employee. One key document is the most recent Federal Tax Form W-2: Wage and Tax Statement, which should show the insured as the employer and the suspected individual as the employee. According to the Internal Revenue Service, an employer must withhold income taxes, social security taxes and medicare taxes for an employee and this information must be reported to the Internal Revenue Service and the employee on an annual basis on Form W-2. Therefore, if you are provided a Form W-2 indicating the insured is the employer and the suspected individual is an employee, you can be certain that the suspected individual is being treated as an employee of the insured business. Depending on the situation, you may want to verify that the Form W-2 the insured provided you was actually filed with the Internal Revenue Service and was not created by the insured in an attempt to falsely document the claim. Reference to payroll registers will also corroborate the employment issue. A copy of the Form W-2 actually filed by the employer can be requested by using IRS Form 4506.
Isolation of the Loss to the Suspected Employee
Another important part of an employee dishonesty investigation is isolating the theft to a specific individual. Once the insured has provided financial documentation supporting assets were stolen from the business, you need to isolate the theft to a specific individual in order to be covered under the employee dishonesty policy. First, you should learn what the suspected employee's job responsibilities were, which allows you to determine what financial records the employee had access to and how the system of financial records can help in your investigation of the theft. To isolate the loss to an employee, you should review the financial records before and after the employee's employment to determine no thefts were occurring. In order to successfully isolate the theft to an employee, you must determine that the thefts only occurred on days the employee worked and thefts did not occur on days the employee did not work. You also must determine that the employee's job responsibilities provided them the opportunity to steal and, if applicable, manipulate the financial records.
Obtain Information from the Suspected Employee
Before rendering a conclusion regarding the validity of the claim for misappropriations by a suspected employee, it is recommended (when possible) to obtain information from the suspected individual. This may be accomplished by obtaining police reports and/or interviewing the reporting officers, obtaining copies of signed statements and confessions or conducting interviews or obtaining testimony from the suspected individual. This information may tie up loose ends and lend support for the claim or may provide evidence that what appeared to be a loss to the insured is actually not a loss at all and may be explained by other information provided by the suspected individual. Further information may be obtained from a combination of sources, including insurance personnel, attorneys, police or forensic accountants.
The investigation of employee dishonesty claims varies from insured to insured because no two businesses operate exactly the same way. Each business has a structure and record keeping system that is unique to the business and its industry. The preceding information should serve as a basis for beginning the investigation of an employee dishonesty claim. The initial goal should be to objectively determine whether or not the claim can be sufficiently documented. If so, your ultimate goal should be to convince a jury in a civil trial by the preponderance of the evidence that the suspected employee is the individual responsible for the claimed misappropriations.
What is a Ponzi Scheme
By David F. Fink, CPA, CFE - Hutton, Kruse & Fink, Ltd., Indianapolis, Indiana.
A Ponzi scheme is an illegal pyramid scheme named for Carlo "Charles" Ponzi
who conned thousands of Americans into investing in a postage stamp coupon exchange program in the 1920s.
Carlo Ponzi was born in Parma, Italy in 1882 and immigrated to the United States in November of 1903.
For several years, he moved from city to city and sustained himself working a variety of jobs. In 1919, after returning to Boston, he began a venture that would create his dubious distinction.
Ponzi was working on the development of an export magazine.
He had contacted a man in Spain about the venture. This man's reply included an international postal coupon. Ponzi was to take the coupon to the local post office and exchange it for American postage stamps. He would use those stamps to send the magazine to Spain. Ponzi noticed that the postal coupon had been purchased in Spain for the equivalent of about one American cent. But when he cashed in the coupon, he was able to get six American one-cent stamps. Ponzi immediately recognized the potential profit. By purchasing and cashing in postal coupons with such a favorable rate, he could realize profits of up to 500%. Ponzi began converting his American money into foreign currencies with favorable exchange rates. He then had foreign agents purchase international postal coupons in countries with weak economies. These coupons were then exchanged for a favorable foreign currency and then back into American funds. In theory, Ponzi's scheme works. Once he began boasting to friends and family about his stroke of genius, it wasn't long before people were lining up to get in on the action.
On December 26, 1919, Ponzi established The Security Exchange Company.
He promised a 50% return on investment in ninety days and claimed he could deliver in just forty-five days. News of the lucrative investment spread quickly and within six months, Ponzi had taken in millions with estimated revenues peaking at a million dollars per week in 1920!
Now for the bad news.
As it turned out, it took more time and expense to convert currencies and postal coupons than Ponzi had anticipated. The profits Ponzi expected were never realized. But because Ponzi had been able to pay his earliest investors their expected profits, additional investors followed. With each thrilled investor in the early months of 1920, multiple investors lined up to replace their distribution. But rather than paying investors their expected return on investment from profits that were realized, Ponzi was simply paying them with the cash taken in from subsequent investors.
This transgression would become the hallmark of what has become known as the Ponzi scheme.
Without adequate profit from the proposed revenue producing activity, investors can only be paid their return on investment from funds received from subsequent investors. No matter how lucrative and attractive an investment may seem, there is always a limit to the number of investors the investment will attract. Each passing period will require a greater investment than the preceding period to enable the organization to return previous investors both their investment and the profit with which the organization is attracting new investors. Consequently, the scheme begins to crumble as soon the amount of new investment fails to grow.
This is why investment in an organization that utilizes a Ponzi scheme is always organized as a pyramid scheme.
The initial number of investors and amount invested may be relatively modest, but each new level of investment must grow exponentially, just as a pyramid is pointed at the top and gets progressively larger all the way to the bottom. Keep in mind, though, that while all Ponzi schemes are pyramid schemes, not all pyramid schemes are Ponzi schemes.
A legitimate pyramid scheme is often called a multi-level marketing (MLM) organization.
The primary revenue-producing activity of an MLM is the sale of a product. Amway Distributors, Inc. is among the best known MLMs in the United States. The federal government has become sensitive enough to the hazard of the Ponzi scheme that Amway was indicted as one. Amway successfully defended against the allegation because they were able to demonstrate revenue production through product sales. With that said, once an organization is recognized as a pyramid scheme, the existence of a Ponzi scheme should be considered.
The return on investment or the return on the sweat equity required by members sounds too good to be true. Remember the old adage, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." The investor or member is encouraged to reinvest profits rather than receive a distribution. One way the Ponzi scheme eases the pressure to find new investors is by convincing current investors to leave their investment in the company. There is a greater focus on stimulating additional investment or recruiting new members than there is on the sale and efficient delivery of a product. Members are required to pay a substantial initial fee, relative to the product they receive. Members are encouraged or required to purchase inventories which will be held for them by the distributor until the member sells the product.
You might imagine
You might imagine that the life of the Ponzi scheme would be very short because of the difficulty of maintaining the charade as a legitimate business, but many Ponzi schemes go unreported because people are embarrassed to report that they have been duped.
Why is it important to be able to recognize a Ponzi scheme?
Aside from potential liability claims from disgruntled investors, the existence of such a scheme can be a red flag for fraud. As the bottom falls out on the pyramid scheme, the need to meet financial obligations can create the financial motive for a fraudulent claim.
And what happened to Carlo Ponzi?
By the summer of 1920, Ponzi had taken in millions and started living the life of a very wealthy man. By the end of July of the same year, the bottom had begun to fall out and on August 13th, he was arrested, first by federal and then by Massachusetts authorities. His federal sentence was five years in federal prison for using the mails to defraud. After three and a half years in prison, Ponzi was sentenced to an additional seven to nine years by the state of Massachusetts. He was released on $14,000 bond pending an appeal and disappeared about one-month later. He soon turned up in Florida where he was involved in a pyramid land scheme using the assumed name of Charles Borelli.
Ponzi was indicted for fraud and sentenced to one year in a Florida prison in 1926.
He again jumped bail. He went to Texas and then stowed away on a freighter headed for Italy, but was captured in a New Orleans port. On June 30, 1926, President Calvin Coolidge denied his request to be deported and he was sent back to Boston to complete his sentence. Ponzi was released for good behavior and deported to Italy on October 7, 1934.
Back in Rome
Ponzi worked as an English translator and, in 1939, he moved to Rio de Janeiro where he was the branch manager for Italy's new airline. In this position, he discovered that several airline officials were using the airline to smuggle currency. He asked for a cut, but was refused, so he tipped off the Brazilian government. The Second World War brought about the airline's failure. For seven years, he lived off the Brazilian unemployment fund and occasional jobs as a translator or English teacher. He died in poverty in January of 1949.
Credit Cards - A Window to Possible Cash Problems
By Mark A. Hutton, CPA, CFE - Hutton, Kruse & Fink, Ltd., Buffalo Grove, Illinois.
Credit cards are as much a part of the American way of life as the automobile
sports and advertising. All you need to do is look at your mail to see that not only are credit card companies aggressive in their attempts to get you to sign up, but they are just as anxious to get you to ask for more credit.
In today's society, the prevalent use of credit cards needs to be considered when evaluating the possible financial motive for fraud relative to a claim involving arson or an inflated claim.
Every situation and claim is different
with unique circumstances, but there are several areas to investigate when evaluating where credit cards fit into the picture in a financial profile of an individual or couple. These are some of the more customary areas to evaluate: Payment Patterns, Types of Transactions, Monthly Balances Carried, Funds Sourced for Payment.
Some of the most conscientious people have run into financial problems during the normal course of just living their lives. There are doctor bills, dental bills, holiday, anniversary and birthday gifts, vacations, dining, cosmetics, clothing and entertainment expenses that are easily transacted on a credit card. When the monthly bill comes, the cardholder needs to make a decision regarding whether to pay the bill in full or to make a partial or minimum required payment. The analysis of payment patterns for credit card statements can reveal symptoms that may indicate financial stress for the cardholder(s). A sudden change in pattern of payment at a point near the time of the suspicious claim or event may be an indication of financial stress on the cardholder. Some areas to look into would be: The availability of funds at the time of payment. Was the employment or business situation of the cardholder(s) stable? Was there an unusual expense that caused the monthly transactions to far exceed their normal level? Was there another expense, unrelated to credit card items that needed to be addressed by the cardholder(s)?
Types of Transactions
For the vast majority of credit card customers, the use of a credit card will be for the purchase of an item or service. When reviewing the detail of transactions, if the content of transactions changes from what the typical history of the cardholder would normally consist of, this would be a clue to other areas to investigate. For example, if the credit card transactions typically consist of larger transactions for durable goods, restaurants and entertainment and then purchases for groceries start to appear, that might be an indication of a cash shortage for the cardholder. When the credit card becomes the tool to pay normal monthly expenses that were formerly paid by check or debit card, it is a clue to the investigator that something changed and reasons for this change should be researched. Additionally, if the credit card is typically used to make purchases and then there are transactions indicating that a cash advance was taken on the card or a credit line was accessed, this is another reason to investigate the reason for this type of additional debt being shouldered by the cardholder. Cash advances can be used to help pay off another debt that charges a higher interest rate, and often the credit card company will offer an attractive lower rate for a short time period to entice the cardholder to utilize the additional credit option. However, a history of accessing credit lines and taking cash advances is a red flag to investigate further when evaluating for financial motive. When fees for late payments and excess balances appear in transaction details, these should be evaluated in light of other documentation available as well.
Monthly Balances Carried
It is important to look at the balances carried on credit cards and other debt in the aggregate for a broad enough period to determine trends in overall consumer debt patterns. Two situations that could be indicators of motive are: Instances where very high levels of debt (in aggregate), relative to available credit, are carried for a long period of time A trend of increasing total debt during the time period leading up to the claimed incident Both of these situations would be an indicator that there is possible financial stress occurring with the debtor / cardholder and that other information needs to be evaluated.
Funds Sourced for Payment
Not only should the amount of payment on monthly credit card debt be reviewed, but the source of funds used to pay the credit card bills is relevant. It can be safely assumed that most credit cardholders will make payments on credit card balances from their checking accounts. Information concerning the available balances in the checking accounts used to pay credit cards should be reviewed to determine whether the level of funds in the accounts remains stable over time, increases or becomes depleted during the time leading up to the claimed event. Additionally, all sources of funds, including savings, investments, credit lines, other credit cards and loans should be evaluated to determine if credit cards are being paid from these sources, which might be an indicator of financial stress on the cardholder(s). Judgment comes into play in these types of analyses and it is important to review documentation over a period of time that is long enough in order to provide an indication of typical patterns before and leading up to a claimed loss where possible. Further judgment needs to be utilized in determining the types of documentation to obtain and what information in credit card documents reveals relative to other information reviewed. Credit card documents are one component, but an important one to consider, in the evaluation of financial motive.
Statement of Cash Flows - A Useful Tool in Financial Analysis
By Mark A. Hutton, CPA, CFE - Hutton, Kruse & Fink, Ltd., Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Any business without the ability to generate cash from its business activities will not survive.
Particularly for a small or new business, cash availability is the most important factor in the business and the sources of the cash are significant factors in determining whether the business is a going concern. Even a business that is profitable can fail if cash is unable to be generated and alternate sources of cash are unavailable.
When evaluating the financial condition of a business, the Statement of Cash Flows is an important tool available to the forensic accountant.
The Statement of Cash Flows reports the sources and uses of cash for the period, as analyzed into three major classifications: Cash flows from operating activities, Cash flows from investing activities, Cash flows from financing activities
The changes in the sources (positive flow) and uses (negative flow) of cash will result in the net change (increase or decrease)
in cash for the business for a defined period of time.
Forensic accountants look for changes in trends of cash flows over several periods in evaluating the health of a business.
Operating activities include the every day or routine transactions of the business that are considered when determining profit or loss. These activities involve those involved with rendering a service or selling inventory. Items considered in the determination of cash flow from operating activities include cash received from the sale of inventory or providing a service. Cash used for operating activities includes purchases of inventory, payroll and associated expenses and other routine expenses of the business. The trends in cash flow from operating activities often have an impact on the flows from investing and financing activities. Businesses with sufficient cash flow from operating activities have less of a need to obtain financing and are often able to repay at least a portion of the business loans during the period under review or apply cash toward the acquisition of building, machinery and equipment. Businesses that extend too much credit to customers or carry increasing quantities of inventory are often in a position that requires delaying payment to suppliers or obtaining debt in order to continue business operations.
Investing activities include extending and collecting on loans, purchase and sale of buildings, machinery and equipment and purchasing or disposing of investments. This particular area of the Statement of Cash Flows can provide a wealth of information about the management / owners intentions for the business. Businesses that are attempting to grow will often acquire buildings and equipment. Businesses that are in need of additional funds or that have equipment that is no longer essential to operations may have disposals of these items in this portion of the Statement of Cash Flows. Sometimes in an attempt to grow a business, management can cause severe financial stress on overall cash flows if the flow from operations is not increasing sufficiently when cash is used for investing into the business.
Most people think of financing as a transaction with a third party lender. However financing activities include obtaining funds from owners and investors as well as from creditors. Financing activities include the acquisition of debt as well as permanent investment in the business. Consideration is also given to the repayment of debt, paying off investors and payment of dividends. Financing from a lender or investor is utilized to help support a business' needs for operating cash as well as to assist the business in acquiring buildings and equipment.
Cash Flow Information a Piece of the Puzzle
When looking at a series of Statements of Cash Flows in order to identify trends for a business, there is a wealth of information about the strength of a business, and its short term history and prospects for success. The information obtained from the Statement of Cash Flows must be considered in relation to the other information that is discovered during the analysis. No one item in a Statement of Cash Flows can give a definitive answer to a question of financial motive; however the trends identified by analyzing Statements of Cash Flows for a number of periods can give clues about what other questions to ask and areas to explore before coming to any conclusions on motive.
What Is a Forensic Accountant?
A trained individual whose work it is to inspect, keep or adjust accounts
Specializing in the application of scientific knowledge to legal matters
Why Use a Forensic Accountant?
Can quickly digest the facts of a complicated financial case
Knows the key accounting documents that should be available
Ensure the timely production of the available documents
Professional, independent, and efficient review, analysis and opinions
Why Hire a Forensic Accountant?
Can quickly digest the facts of the dispute
Can conduct interviews relating to the facts of the dispute
Can interview the claimant relating to his / her personal / business finances
Knows the key financial documents that should be available
Can provide guidance and questions for recorded interviews and / or testimony
Create an atmosphere of competency regarding personal / business finances.
Professional, Independent, Efficient Review, Analysis and Opinions
Show Good Faith
When Can Forensic Accountants Be Useful In Assisting In the Evaluation of Personal Property Disputes?
Where there is a question regarding the ability to purchase items in question.
Where there is an inventory theft.
When there may be a financial motive relating to a set fire at a location.
Where there are questions regarding the financial health of an individual or business.
Why Hire Hutton, Kruse & Fink To Perform Analysis?
disclaimer:pricing and availability subject to change.
We are a firm of financial specialists, exclusively devoted to forensic or investigative accounting for nearly 25 years! We have broad experience in a variety of industries and financial situations. Founded in 1990, Hutton, Kruse & Fink, Ltd., CPAs has always specialized in investigative accounting, often called forensic accounting. Our professionals have experience across numerous industries, as well as public and not for profit entities. We can assist you in financial investigations, carefully documenting our objective analyses and the information upon which they are based. We are experienced in the analysis of damage claims and the preparation of financial models.