Forensic seal of approval is a pointless exercise, claims expert

One of the UK’s leading forensic accounting experts has dismissed a potential
ICAEW accreditation scheme for members in the sector.

John Ellison, chairman of KPMG’s forensic division, said an accreditation was
pointless, because the main reason behind the scheme was a

The ICAEW has proposed the scheme – essentially a kitemark system for
forensic accountants – enabling lawyers to choose from a list of forensic
accountants to offer their knowledge in court.

‘Lawyers will want to know the individual they’re working with. They’re more
interested in reputation and what cases they’ve worked on,’ Ellison added.

Neil Mirchandani, a partner at law firm Lovells, pointed out that it was

‘difficult to understand’the point of an accreditation. ICAEW accreditation

won’t carry much weight beyond other codes set up for court ‘experts’,
such as the Academy of Experts and Expert Witness Institute, he said.

James Farrell, partner at legal practice Herbert Smith, said the firm
had built up an ‘enormous amount’ of internal knowledge regarding expert
witnesses, and thought an accreditation ‘would not have any bearing on
how we select forensic accountants’.

But the ICAEW’s forensic special interest group is lobbying strongly for

a stamp of approval. Peter Silk, chairman of the group,
said that a ‘kitemark’ for forensic accountants would prove to be of
‘enormous benefit’.

He said: ‘To be experts in our field – good forensic accountants, it must be

Silk added that the accreditation would help potential employers to pick out
accountants with forensic skills, with agencies such as the
National Audit Office and soonto- be operational Serious Organised
Crime Agency looking for experts in this field.

He was supported by Toni Pincott, forensic & investigation services

partner at Grant Thornton, who said that the market would be ‘assisted by
having some guidance’.

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