What advice do you have for an accountant facing professional liability?
Minneapolis attorney Tom Shroyer discusses what an accountant can do when facing professional liability.
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Well, again, hopefully there is insurance coverage, so make sure to get the insurance company on board, give them notice and start working with them. Hire a good lawyer – hopefully, a lawyer who has experience in the field. It’s not an area where lawyers can come in easily who haven’t had a lot of experience working with accountants, because, frankly, what accountants do is so, I’d say, out of the norm for what lawyers know and work with, that it’s very difficult for them to pick it up. I’d say also to relax and to make sure that you’re focusing on what you need to do to preserve evidence, to try to be objective about whether or not your firm made a mistake or didn’t, and then to work closely with the lawyer to make sure that the communications are effective with the opposing party and their lawyer, and to make sure that the best effort is made to present the truth, and the complete truth, in a way that has the greatest chance to persuade both the opposing party, the lawyer, and the court ultimately, or a jury, in the merits of what was done.