The forensic department of Versant Group are instructed by a range of individuals, solicitors, insolvency practitioners, banks and companies, either by the claimant or defendant.
Typical assignments will often include the following:
- Acquisition or disposal of a business involving due diligence investigations
- Share valuations
- Valuations relating to matrimonial disputes
- Shareholder and director disputes
- Investigation of complex Fraud cases and confiscation hearings falling under the POCA 2002
- Finance projects on behalf of banks
- Insolvency investigations
- Cashflow forecasts and cost monitoring
- Quantification of insurance claims
- Professional negligence claims against advisors
- Cases in respect of directors conduct
- VAT appeals and hardship applications
- Involvement in mediation procedures
- Provision of ‘Expert witness’ services including the attendance at court
- Tax investigations
Cases range from small matrimonial matters through to large and complex multi-million pound fraud cases. Many fraud cases, acting for the defendant, are funded by the Legal Services Commission and fee quotations are provided upfront based on estimated hours and agreed hourly rates. We have a wealth of experience in preparing forensic accountancy reports, either under the Civil Procedure Rules or Criminal Procedure Rules. As a firm of accountants we are able to draw upon our strong accountancy skill and experience, as well as incorporating taxation advice, corporate finance, restructuring and payroll knowledge.
Although each forensic appointment is unique and has its own requirements, our experience and wide range of existing clients means that are quickly able to ascertain a detailed knowledge of the claimants or defendants circumstances and business.
A selection of current and past cases includes:
Shareholder dispute & Company Valuation
A 25% shareholder in a textiles company was illegally forced out of the business. We are acting for the claimant which involves an investigation into the companies accounting records following the shareholders departure, the identification of excessive dividends salary and benefits from the company by the remaining directors and the valuation of the business as a going concern.
Commercial Agent – Company Valuation
(loss of profits and compensation claim)
The claimant was a commercial agent (freelance salesman) whose contract was terminated without notice or reason. We are acting for the claimant in his loss of future earnings and compensation for lack of notice; this involves a valuation of the business under the Commercial Agents Regulations 1993.
A long-established midlands-based steel company began making losses, we have been appointed to review the companies operations and business plans, including a review of all expenses, future income, cashflows, property advice, corporate and directors’ personal taxation, income extraction from the business and the possibility of a solvent liquidation. A detailed forensic report is being prepared, providing the directors with various options and their financial implications.
Clothing Retailer – Fraudulent trading & confiscation hearing (under POCA 2002)
A clothing retailer in London was convicted of trademark offences and fraud, we were appointed by the defendant’s solicitors to investigate the businesses trade, review its accounting records, establish the level of ‘genuine’ trade compared to fraudulent trade and to comment upon his general lifestyle and financial/business behaviour. Our report was used to help reduce his sentence and also to reduce the ‘recoverable amount’ under the subsequent
Confiscation Hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
Recruitment Company – Fraudulent trading & false accounting (including subsequent confiscation hearing)
The husband and wife directors of a recruitment company were charged with fraudulent trading and false accounting due to a conflict of interests with one of the director’s full-time employer. We were appointed to investigate and comment upon their companies operation, accounting records, specific transactions, advice received from their accountants and relationship with suppliers, HMRC and their statutory obligations as directors. Our forensic report was used to successfully clear the wife’s charge and to reduce the sentence of the husband; our report is subsequently being used to reduce the value of the prosecutions confiscation hearing under POCA 2002.
VAT Carousel Fraud
We were appointed by the defendant company to investigate their accounting records due to the withholding of a VAT refund by HMRC resulting in the pending liquidation of the company and a VAT hardship claim before a tribunal.
Our report looked into the operation of the company and a sample review of its accounting records in order to establish their customer identification procedures.
Company Valuation – Small Business
We were appointed to undertake a company valuation of a small husband and wife laundry business as part of the matrimonial divorce proceedings.
We have been approached by the defendant’s solicitors to investigate the accounting records of a Texas-based precious metals company and the specific actions of directors and connected persons. This is a substantial case involving the review and critique of the prosecutions forensic accounting report, the review of the precious metals business, allegations of ‘Ponzi’-style fraud, the attempted listing of the business on the US stock exchange, complex investment and finance schemes including alleged insurance fraud and falsifying of experts reports.
We have a wide range of contacts and accordingly are able to obtain expert advice in fields other than forensic accountancy; this often includes investment or actuarial advice.
We have experience with attending civil and criminal courts as well as employment and duties tribunals, in addition to submitting written reports.
Accounts Preparation and Audit
Every business operates in a different manner and alongside this each business has different requirements of their accounts. Our experienced team can help with:
- The preparation of Management accounts, monthly or quartely
- Statutory accounts to comply with the Companies Act and other requirements
- Consolidated accounts for groups of companies
- Annual accounts for LLP, partnerships and smaller business
- Informal accounts suitable for tax return preparation for professionals such as Dentists, Opticians or similar.
The level of accounts preparation depends on the size and complexity of your business. We can assist you with the preparation of accounts from internally prepared management accounts or you can provide us with your books and records and let us handle a possibly onerous task for you.
Our staff are well trained in wide range of financial software packages and are available to provide you with help.
We can perform both statutory and non-statutory audits. A statutory audit can provide a reasonable level of assurance to the users of the accounts.
Our audit and supplementary audit services can help your business meet its regulatory requirements as well as the particular needs of your organisation.
Our Audit department has vast experience in providing Audit services to small, medium and large organisations.