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advocacy community education
Q. Hugh, tell us about a recent experience you had with
a legal case where you needed to collaborate with a CPA.
Hugh Cuthbertson: I have prosecuted cases civilly under
Connecticut's Statutory Theft Act for companies that have
been the victims of internal theft/embezzlement. In a recent
case in Connecticut, a client discovered that the controller in
one of its subsidiaries had embezzled a little more than
$125,000. Embezzlements, of course, can occur in a vari-
ety of situations. Although in this case the embezzlement
was discovered by the company's corporate controller, the
services of a certified fraud examiner, such as David, would
have been required for the investigation if the company had
had no corporate controller who was competent to handle
this matter.
Q. David, you testify in court and conduct investigations
like Hugh just described. Whereas he, the attorney,
would bring in a Certified Fraud Examiner CPA, when
might it happen in reverse?
David Reynolds: There have been situations, in the course
of performing accounting and tax work for a client, where we
uncover fraud. After consulting with the business owner, we
will conduct an investigation. Depending on the scope and
amount of theft, we generally advise the client to obtain an
attorney with expertise in fraud litigation and employment
law. We may provide a referral if the client needs one.
Either way, we end up working with the attorney to reach a
satisfactory outcome for our client. From there, the door is
open for future collaboration.
CPAs and Attorneys:
Creating a Win-Win
through Networking
and Collaboration
By Jill M. Kovalich
uilding a network of professional contacts is necessary in order to do the best job for your clients
and to create new opportunities for business. The goal is two-fold. First, knowing your clients'
other advisors gives you a comprehensive understanding of their needs. Second, when more
people know of your talents, more referrals will come your way.
The nature of the CPA-client relationship is steeped in trust and can span decades. Many find that
during their client relationships, they will work with their clients' other advisors. Reaching out to a
mutual client's advisor to make a lunch appointment is a warm introduction call that is much easier
than making a cold call. Most CPAs and attorneys aren't comfortable with the latter, but they will
experience success with the warm lead.
Hugh Cuthbertson, attorney and partner at Zangari Cohn Cuthbertson, P.C. and David Reynolds,
CPA, CFE, partner at Konowitz, Kahn & Company P.C., recently sat down with me to share their
experiences about collaborating on behalf of their clients' interests.