Frequently Asked Questions

Here at Forensic Accounting Qld we get asked many questions from potential clients and the general public. Questions like what do we do ? What is a Forensic Accountant ? How much are your fees ? and they will continue on over the years. So, we decided that we would list the questions that are relevant and supply the answers to the best of our ability hoping they are informative and may assist in your decision making processes.

Q: What is a Forensic Accountant?

A: A Forensic Accountant is a qualified accountant who can analyse, interpret, summarise and present complex financial and business-related issues in a manner which is both understandable and properly supported.

Q: Why do I need a forensic accountant?

A: You need the expertise and knowledge to record the evidence and information in the manner required that is both acceptable and presentable in a court of law. An expert who will withstand the rigors of cross-examination.

Q: Who can engage a Forensic Accountant?

A: Anyone can engage a Forensic Accountant.

Q: What is identity fraud?

A: The term Identity encompasses the identity of natural persons living or deceased and the identity of bodies corporate. The terms identity fabrication, identity manipulation, identity theft and Identity crime are steps involved in a fraud.

Q; What are some of the warning signs of an identity fraud being constructed?

A: Mail going missing from your letter box is a good indicator. Missing bank statements, superannuation statements, credit card statements, drivers licence renewals etc. etc. all vital pieces of information for a fraudster to steal out of your letterbox and used to facilitate the commission of a crime.

Q: What does a business health check mean?

A: A business health check is when a professional is engaged to undertake an analysis of your overall business. Amongst other things they will look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. At Forensic Accounting Qld we can assist you in ensuring the administrative safeguards are in place to help minimise the risk of a fraud being committed in your place of business.

Q: Do we deal with deceased estates?

A: We are often engaged to investigate financial anomalies in deceased estates including the Executors of Wills, Power of Attorney’s, valuation of assets and distribution of assets relating to misappropriation of the assets.

Q: What is an expert witness?

A: In some cases, a party may retain a person who is a specialist in a subject for providing his/her opinion on an aspect of the case. Such a person may become an expert witness, if they are qualified in their area of expertise through training and specialised knowledge. An expert witness may be retained to give opinion evidence in the proceedings or in certain circumstances to express an opinion that may be relied upon in alternative dispute resolution procedures such as mediation or a conference of experts. In some circumstances an expert may be appointed as an independent advisor to the Court.

Q: Can anybody do Business Valuations?

A: Business Valuations should only be undertaken by accountants appropriately qualified in this field and not just anybody who has a financial degree for example a tax agent or business services accountant.

Q: How long do I have to submit a personal injury claim?

A: Personal Injury claims have time frames in which you must lodge your claim. It may depend on your type of injury and to whom you are making the claim. For further information on your type of claim contact your legal representative. Forensic Accounting Qld are experts in quantifying the financial claim you may be entitled to as a result of any loss or interruption to your personal income and/or business income.

Q: Do you have experience in court appearances?

A: Steven Ponsonby is the Director of Forensic Accounting Qld. Steven has extensive experience in giving expert evidence in a range of matters in the following jurisdictions;

  • Federal Court of Australia
  • Federal Circuit Court of Australia
  • Family Law Court
  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal
  • Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Supreme Court of Tasmania
  • District Court of Queensland
  • Magistrates Court of Queensland
  • Magistrates Court of Tasmania
  • Retail Shop & Leases Tribunal
  • Queensland Civil & Administration Tribunal
  • Assisting in Mediation/Arbitration

Q: Are you able to travel to our workplace ?

A: Yes, we can travel to your workplace. Depending on where you are, how far away you are and what mode of transport is required for us to get there in a timely manner. The associated costs involved for an onsite visit can vary greatly and will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Q: Do you work interstate?

A: It is quite common for us to do work interstate. Forensic Accounting Qld has invested in leading edge technology that allows us to work interstate autonomously and fluidly in all locations.

Q: Do I need a lawyer ?

A: Lawyers are often required in matters we are involved with. However, it is not necessary for you to have engaged a lawyer prior to discussing your matter with us.

Q: Can you conduct investigations after hours ?

A: We can attend your business premises after hours if you have any concerns with any confidentiality or privacy matters. The associated costs involved for an onsite visit can vary greatly and will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Q: What are your fees ?

A: Whilst we don’t disclose our hourly rates openly on the internet, we will give you an estimate of our professional costs for a job if you email us all the details you have about the matter and any financials you may have. An initial estimate of costs will be based on the information you provide us. We reserve the right to change our fee estimate and seek further instructions if we discover there is more work required or the job is more complex than ascertained at the outset.

Q: Why do you provide only an estimate of professional fees?

A: The reasons why we are unable to provide a fixed estimate of our costs, in respect of the engagement is that we are unable to establish certainty in relation to the number and volume of further documents which may be produced and/or discovered during the course of the engagement.

Where an initial draft report has not yet been completed, the complexity and diversity of business activities and, consequently, the extent of analysis required. Amended and/or further instructions being provided during the course of the engagement. Attending to directions and/or orders of the court. The time that may have to be spent in consultation with relevant people during the course of the engagement.

Q: Do you undertake matters on a fixed fee basis?

A: In limited circumstances we may be able to offer a fixed fee arrangement, where we are able to clearly identify the scope with a known quantum of data to work with. This arrangement would be assessed on a case by case basis.

Q: What is an indicative business valuation?

A: A limited Business Valuation that is undertaken to provide an indication of the likely value of the business.

Q: Where would an indicative business valuation be used.

A: To support a court application where limited financial information is currently available and/or for family law matters where the parties are still amicable and agreeable to an indicative valuation being undertaken.

Q: What does an engagement letter mean or involve ?

A: An engagement letter is like the terms and conditions of a contract. We will spell out clearly the scope of the job, an estimation of the costs and the terms and conditions on which you “the Client” and us “Forensic Accounting Qld” will abide by and be held accountable for. It should be read carefully and entirely. Once the letter of engagement has been initialed by you on the bottom of each page to indicate you have read every page and signed in full on the last page, all of the pages must be sent back to us as soon as possible. We will require you to make an advanced payment of which will be a partial payment of the estimate of costs already stated in the letter of engagement. Once we have received the signed letter of engagement and the payment has been cleared into our account we can start the matter for you.