When we think of the term malpractice, we generally associate it with medical professionals, but malpractice can be committed by any professional on whom we rely on for their expertise and whose negligence or misconduct results in damages. When accountants do not fulfill their duty of care to a client and their error results in damages to their client, the client is able to file a lawsuit for accounting malpractice.
Accounting malpractice is a type of negligence, and to prove that an accountant has failed in their duty to a client there are several points that need to be proven. These include:
- Establishing that there was a professional relationship between the accountant the client that required duty of care
- Proving that the duties that the accountant was expected to fulfill had not been carried out, whether by noncompliance with generally accepted accounting practices or deliberately.
- Proving that the client suffered some type of actual harm
- Proving that the harm that the client suffered was a direct result of the accountant’s actions, oversight or misconduct
Every professional interaction with an accountant begins with the accountant indicating the type of service that they are going to provide to the client, and it is this representation that establishes the duty of care that they have promised. When they fail to provide what they’ve indicated that they will, whether through oversight or calculated misrepresentation, it can result in real damages to the client. These damages can range from significant monies lost to the loss of ability to continue doing business or manage their finances, and if accounting malpractice is proven the victim is awarded compensation. Where misrepresentation was provably purposeful, it can lead to higher compensation.
Accounting malpractice is more than innocently making a mistake. It is failing to provide the correct amount of attention to the client’s accounting needs or making a misrepresentation that leads to monetary loss or some other type of damage that significantly and negatively impacts you. It can be difficult for the layman to assess whether malpractice has taken place, but an experienced negligence attorney can help. For our help in determining whether what happened to you represents accounting malpractice, contact our experienced attorneys to set up a time for us to discuss your case.