Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Tips for Testifying

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

Tips for Testifying

Article excerpt

CPAs often act as expert witnesses, testifying in court or in a deposition. The key to being perceived as a credible expert witness is to be prepared. For example, a CPA who testifies should be well versed in the opposing expert's analysis, able to state opinions in a clear and concise manner and trained to answer only the questions asked. The following advice will help you be a better expert witness.

GETTING READY TO TESTIFY

[] Spend enough time with your side's attorney to prepare adequately for your testimony.

[] For court, dress conservatively and in accordance with local custom.

[] Make sure you are well-rested and alert.

[] Be prepared to say when, how and why you were engaged in the matter.

[] Be able to state the number of hours you have spent on the matter to date, including the fees that have been billed.

[] Be prepared to provide the names of any client personnel you interviewed to obtain information.

[] At a deposition, say that your opinion may change, prior to testifying at the trial, pending receipt of additional information, the testimony of others and rulings by the judge.

WHILE ON THE STAND

[] Be ready to enumerate your credentials as an expert in your field.

[] Tell the truth, no matter what.

[] Act naturally--be yourself.

[] Maintain your composure. Be polite, but not deferential. …

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