Many CPAs begin in traditional public accounting firms. After several years, many CPA's move on to consulting, audit, or tax. Larger accounting companies have separate departments for consulting, audit and tax. Cross-training is extremely rare. Many engagements are undertaken by accountants in smaller accounting firms. These include compilation work, and a grind-tax season. Compilation assists small business clients with general financial issues. It also helps with cost accounting and financial statement preparation. Some accountants start out in the "private" sector of accounting or in an "industry" where they are employed in our website various general accounting positions. Even though they are young, most accountants report directly to their employers. Some accountants gain experience through both private and public accounting.
Technically speaking, the transition from forensic accounting shouldn't be too difficult. Although there are still many skills needed, most CPAs possess the necessary skills to perform the job. Many forensic accountants laugh about the fact that they wanted to be experts witnesses after the monotony of traditional accounts. Many enjoy the competitive nature depositions and the challenge to maintain calm under pressure. Expert witness practice is different from other professions. This is similar with family law. Every client, every lawyer and each issue are unique. As you might guess, this diversity attracts many personalities to the expert witness community.
CPAs may continue to enhance their forensic accounting abilities while continuing their tax or audit practice. Eventually, they will be ready to take on the role of "full-time" expert witness and/or business valuation expert. Expert witness and business appraisal are often closely linked, but they can have very different outcomes. A CPA is not a business valuation expert. Many organizations have been certified to be business valuation experts. Most expert witness accountants possess a CPA. Experts form relationships with a limited number of lawyers over time. Only a small number of top litigators can use forensic accounting to help build a strong expert witness company. As with a family practice, growing it requires leveraging other CPA's and staff to make it more profitable. Marketing professional services aren't something accountants like to do. Few people are good at it. Expert witnesses can interact at American Bar Association (state-level, local) or American Bar Association(national) meetings with lawyers. They speak at conferences, and provide continuing legal education. Forensic accountants regularly send out direct mailings. They also invite lawyers to lunches or send email newsletters.