Certified Forensic Financial Analyst
The Scope of a CFFA's Litigation Consulting Services
The proliferation of information in areas related to financial litigation requires expertise, experience and training as never before. Adding a CFFA consultant to your legal team will provide invaluable benefits to both you and your clients if your legal work touches on any of the following areas:
- Disruption of a business
- Dissenting shareholder actions
- Economic loss analysis, including:
- Personal injury
- Wrongful death
- Wrongful termination
- Eminent domain
- Partner disputes
- ESOPs and other benefit plans
- Intellectual property
CFFAs are prepared to offer strategic assistance when it comes to fraud and forensic investigative accounting services, marital property partitions, bankruptcy, estate and gift tax, valuations and lost profits/income projection models to assess financial consequences in a wide range of situations.
Adding Critical Expertise to the Litigation Team
The Certified Forensic Financial Analyst (CFFA) credential is designed to demonstrate to the legal community that the designee possesses a level of experience and knowledge deemed acceptable by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA) to provide competent and professional forensic financial litigation support. To carry the credential requires meeting and fulfilling a series of prerequisite qualifications and demonstrating a continuing commitment to the discipline through periodic recertification. CFFA credential holders must first undergo eight days of intensive training sponsored by NACVA's Forensic Institute for Financial Experts and then pass an eight hour proctored exam, in addition to an extensive case study prior to becoming certified. The training includes economics, statistics, and calculating damages, followed by a five-day practicum in which participants learn about commercial damages and participate in a damages study, which takes them through the processes of deposition, mediation, and jury trial. After being awarded the CFFA, designees must meet ongoing experience as well as periodic continuing professional education requirements in order to recertify. These requirements help ensure the users of these services that the CFFA is conversant with current and relevant developments, a measure the Association deems necessary for the performance of professional services.
Creating a Winning Team
The complexity of today's litigation environment demands competent and qualified expertise. The courts have confirmed this. Daubert, Kumho Tire and others are redefining what it means to be a qualified expert, and in the financial arena this includes expertise in areas of accounting, tax, finance, economics and, most importantly, valuation theory and its various applications in business and intangible asset value determinations.
As qualified financial litigation consultants and Certified Forensic Financial Analysts, adding our expertise to your litigation team can literally mean the difference between winning and losing the case.
Why Valuators Are the Premier Litigation Consultants
CFFA professionals with their valuation background have come to be known as the premier litigation consultants because their knowledge of business value, and what drives value, perfectly positions them to counsel business owners and their legal advisors on a myriad of issues going well beyond valuing a business enterprise, or component parts thereof.
The breadth of their exposures, combined with knowledge gained through training and experience, prepares the CFFA to take on a variety of litigation consulting challenges that can include personal and commercial damages, breach of contract, tort and environmental liability, and patent/trademark/copyright/trade secrets infringement.
With this diverse background, the CFFA-designated consultant offers the unique capacity to assimilate financial information from a variety of complex situations and, more importantly, articulate and communicate the relevant meaning of this information for the audiences involved in a litigious setting. Simply put, they pull together the numbers and data, and they make sense out of them. It is this ability to complete the picture that makes the CFFA such a valuable addition to the legal team.
How a CFFA Can Benefit Your Litigation Team
Most often the fundamental role of the CFFA/valuation practitioner is to determine the value of financial damages and/or impairment of assets held by businesses or individuals. The nature of this activity is very complex, however, and by virtue of the information-gathering process and the methodologies used in the value determination, the CFFA is well positioned to leverage his or her expertise in a litigation strategic role. As a litigation team member, for example, the CFFA consultant can assist in discovery and trial preparation in a number of ways:
- Drafting and answering requests for the production of documents and interrogatories relating to the financial and technical issues
- Monitoring, evaluating, and controlling documents produced during discovery
- Responding to the soundness of opinions of an opposing expert
- Evaluating expert witness testimony and work product
- Participating in the development of the overall strategy of the case
- Helping to define the scope of damages
- Assisting in compiling numeric summaries for inclusion in briefs, pleadings, or motions
- Offering testimony in discovery or at trial
- Developing strategically focused questions for direct and cross-examination
- Preparing a trial (exhibit) notebook
- Preparing visual aids
- Rendering real-time trial assistance
While all of the above activities may or may not be required in a given situation, the fundamental role of the CFFA is to help identify financial and economic issues and develop the most effective approach to dealing with them.
What You Should Look for in Selecting a Forensic Financial Litigation Professional
A forensic financial litigation professional should be able to demonstrate through education, training and experience, knowledge and competence in performing valuations of private enterprises, performing calculations of damages in litigation, and determining intangible property values. Of the utmost importance are the credentials, representing specific training and mastery of the litigation-related body of knowledge, and one's affiliation with a recognized organization such as the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA). Members of NACVA are required to adhere to industry standards in performing their services and communicating their conclusions of value. Standards are intended to assure users the service they receive meets an industry-acceptable level of due care, thoroughness, and quality, and that the CFFA adheres to ethical guidelines in the performance of his or her engagements.
Additional qualifications the experienced litigation consultant may offer include a familiarity with Rules of Evidence, the attorney work product privilege, the professional standards of other organizations besides NACVA, the Rules of Court, courtroom protocol and etiquette, and visual, written, and auditory communication techniques.