The accounting profession is, in part, a self-regulated industry, and accountants are held to the standards of the licensing boards, agencies and organizations regulating them in each state where they practice. Accounting firms are further regulated at the federal level as well. Accounting mistakes can spell severe financial harm to the client. Yet accounting is both an art and a science, calling for independent judgment and reasoning. A client dissatisfied with a particular outcome is not necessarily the victim of malpractice. Prosecuting or defending an accounting malpractice claim requires skill and knowledge of the law and legal procedure relating specifically to accounting malpractice. At King & Jones, our Chicago accounting malpractice lawyers have represented two of the big four public accounting firms in accounting malpractice cases. Our team also has decades of experience in related areas, such as legal malpractice and many forms of business litigation.
As professionals, accountants are held to a certain standard commensurate with their education and training. When an accountant’s performance falls below this standard, they can be held liable and required to pay money damages to a client for any financial harm which resulted from their negligence, incompetence or other wrongful behavior. Examples of conduct which may amount to accounting malpractice include:
Clients rely on the knowledge and expertise of accountants to give them correct advice, to conduct audits properly, and to prepare tax returns or accounting records correctly. Failure to do this, including misrepresentations that benefit the accountant at the expense of the client, may make the accountant liable in damages for breach of fiduciary duty as well as accounting malpractice.
Simply being unhappy with an outcome, such as paying more taxes than you think you should, does not necessarily mean malpractice occurred. Tax planning and accounting methods have elements of choice and subjectivity, and some CPAs take a more conservative or aggressive approach than others. It’s not necessarily malpractice merely because the accountant’s approach does not align with the client’s goals. Proving a case of accounting malpractice requires proving the following elements:
An expert witness can testify as to the applicable standard and whether that standard was met or violated. As experienced malpractice attorneys, King & Jones works with skilled professionals capable of providing expert opinion and testifying at a deposition or in court. We provide skillful, persuasive representation on the issues of both liability and damages. With abundant experience in insurance litigation as well, our lawyers are prepared to handle any issues that arise related to E&O professional liability insurance, including the duty to defend or settle third-party claims.
“I have nothing but admiration, respect & gratitude for the firm of Canel, King, & Jones. The entire team and in particular, Peter King, handled my case, a complicated suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty with a clear plan, meticulous research, thoughtful execution and concise, compelling arguments. I was consulted, challenged and expertly guided through all phases of the process.” – Linda Potter
“Peter and his team were instrumental in our contract litigation. Their emotional investment and knowledge of the process were key in our success.” – Jay Roberts
“I hired Peter to represent my co-directors and me in a breach of fiduciary duty dispute with a co-owner. Peter and his partner Bill joined our trial team just prior to trial and helped us obtain a complete victory at trial. Peter had an uncanny ability to focus on what was important to succeed at trial. Peter was well prepared, organized and thoughtful.” – Oliver Nicklin
For help with accounting malpractice claims in Chicago or across the country, call King & Jones at 312-372-4142. Our Chicago accounting malpractice lawyers advise you on your best options and layout a sound strategy to achieve results.