Excellence In Forensic, Litigation And Valuation Services

Monday, May 1, 2006 - 01:00

The Editor interviews Marion Hecht Clay, CPA, CFE and MBA and Principal; Frank Gigliotti, Principal; and Maurice J. Whelan, CPA / ABV, CVA and Managing Director, UHY Advisors.

Editor: What does FLVS encompass?

Whelan: Our suite of forensic, litigation and valuation services (FLVS) includes business intelligence, litigation support, business valuation and investigative services. We have built successful working relationships with law firms, Fortune 500 corporations, investment banks and financial institutions for more than 25 years.

We also work for federal and state agencies and bankruptcy trustees, as well as a great number of public and private companies in healthcare, financial services, construction, manufacturing, nonprofit, real estate and a broad range of other industries. We help them resolve shareholder disputes, calculate damages, detect and control fraud, handle employment law matters and manage receiverships.

Clay: The commercial litigation, marital matters, bankruptcies and receiverships that we handle are often complicated involving multi-tiered entities and flow of funds through many affiliated companies. We also assist our clients in fiduciary litigation.

Gigliotti: In addition, we work on antitrust, business interruption, insurance consulting, property damages, forensic accounting and investigations.

Editor: How do your DC and other offices collaborate?

Whelan: On our weekly conference call, our teams around the country discuss the jobs that are in process. By matching our resources with the client's needs, we can deliver prompt, proactive service.

On a day-to-day basis, we collaborate among all of our locations via emails, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings. For example, last week I went to Philadelphia with three of my colleagues - one from New York, another from Houston and the other from Detroit - to work on a potential litigation engagement.

Clay: We provide seamless support for our clients, whatever their geographic location. We enjoy the collaborative and collegial style of our organization. We are nimble and work well together very quickly.

Gigliotti: Collaboration is the key to growing our practice. Since joining UHY Advisors, I have worked with offices primarily in the Northeast and built relationships that enable us to work closely together to identify potential engagements and deliver excellent client service.

Editor: Ms. Clay, what is the significance of your CFE designation?

Clay: CFE is an international certification awarded by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) to those within the profession who have proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection, deterrence and investigation. For more than 18 years, I have worked with attorneys in all stages of litigation. I have also worked as the principal agent for U.S. District Court appointed receivers of small business investment companies with significant experience in financial and fraud examinations, litigation support and dispute resolution.

Editor: Mr. Gigliotti, please tell us about your CFA candidacy.

Gigliotti: Having received my degree in finance from the Wharton Business School, I am now a candidate in the charter financial analyst (CFA) program, which is the globally recognized standard for measuring the competence and integrity of financial analysts. With a strong background in finance and accounting, my 15 years' experience in the litigation support arena has encompassed many industries including healthcare, insurance, reinsurance and financial institutions. Much of my experience is in complex commercial litigation.

Editor: Mr. Whelan, please tell us about your ABV and CVA credentials.

Whelan: The CVA designation is awarded by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA), which is a global professional association that supports the business valuation, litigation consulting and fraud deterrence disciplines within the CPA and professional business advisory communities. The Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) designation is awarded by the American Institute of CPA's. I have more than 30 years' experience in performing valuations as well as solvency opinions in bankruptcy cases, fairness opinions in M&A transactions, damage calculations, shareholder disputes and expert testimony.

Editor: Are the credentials of your other team members equally impressive?

Whelan: Yes. Our bench strength includes CPAs, CFEs, ASAs, CVAs, J.D.s and economists. Many act as expert witnesses.

One example is Jonathan Schwartz. An economist, his expansive knowledge is particularly helpful in calculating damages in antitrust cases. Carol Miu, a PhD candidate, has a strong background in marketing and econometrics. Thomas Chappell and Jeffrey Lewis are CPAs and CFEs, with a combined 30 years of experience.

Gigliotti: Our bench strength is highly competitive with the larger national firms. Talented professionals are attracted to UHY Advisors FLVS because of our reputation, diversity of clients, quality of work assignments and tremendous opportunity for growth.

Editor: How do you maintain your high quality?

Gigliotti: We reference the guiding principles from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), as well as other organizations committed to promoting consistent and standard practices throughout the profession.

As the benchmarks for professional excellence continuously evolve, we identify best practices that reflect real-life experiences. We disseminate these best practices throughout our organization to ensure that our services are thorough and accurate. Our best practices also provide a high-level overview to ensure that our processes are based on sound theories that can be explained to auditors, litigators, investigators and business people alike.

Editor: How do you see UHY Advisors growing?

Whelan: With more than 1,200 professionals providing services from 20 offices across the country, UHY Advisors is ranked by the Public Accounting Report as the 14th largest professional services firm in the U.S. that provides tax and business consulting services.

Our new CEO has aggressive growth plans with projections that UHY Advisors will rank as the 7th largest national firm by 2010. We feel that UHY Advisors FLVS will be one of the biggest contributors to that growth. Our marketplace includes law firms and large corporate clients that will need expanded forensic, litigation and valuation services, particularly in the area of fraud control.

Clay: I am seeing an increased number of new engagements involving multi-tiered entities and insider deals. Our firm has an enviable depth of expertise in handling these cases. The expanding marketplace needs experienced and talented professionals to help manage these large investigation and complex forensic projects.

Gigliotti: I see our growth as evolving from a combination of both the forensic accounting work and litigation support, which encompasses the expert witness work that we do. Both of those areas of expertise will help drive the sales and revenues of the firm for the foreseeable future.

Whelan: Our DC office is at the epicenter for law firms and litigation. The possibilities for growth here are endless. We feel that our DC office will grow at a rapid pace and will be one of the leaders in UHY Advisors' network of offices.

Editor: What is at the cornerstone of your plans for growth?

Whelan: UHY Advisors embraces a collaborative approach to providing forensic, litigation and valuation services. We like to recognize everyone's talents and their ability to contribute. We feel very strongly that the talents of our professionals are the cornerstone for our growth. We all have something valuable to contribute, and we thrive on supporting each others' achievements.

Other important team members who personify this philosophy include Sue Crow, who is in charge of administration in our DC office, and Ingrid Mueller, who leads our marketing for risk management.

Our primary market strategist is Craig Buckson. He has a very extensive knowledge of the marketplace. He is a bright visionary adept at articulating innovative strategies. Craig is the person who guides us in terms of the marketplace and where we want to pursue opportunities.

Clay: Craig's strengths are not limited to searching for new opportunities. One of his core competencies is serving our clients and maintaining our reputation for excellence, which is the foundation for the long-term relationships that benefit not only our clients, but also all the team players here.

Gigliotti: We are fortunate to have a well-rounded and diverse team. Based on our skill sets and overall talent, we are poised for growth. I look forward to being part of the exciting growth at UHY Advisors.

UHY Advisors, Inc. and its subsidiary entities are not licensed CPA firms. UHY LLP, and in Texas, UHY Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp CPAs, LLP, are licensed independent CPA firms that perform attest services through an alternative practice structure.