When an individual earns a professional license, there are certain responsibilities that come along with the right to provide professional services. Primarily, the professional is responsible for providing a certain standard of services. When a licensed professional mistreats or mismanages their client, that is legally defined as professional malpractice. Professional malpractice can result in significant financial losses for the victims. One of the most common forms of professional malpractice is accounting malpractice. Countless people rely on their accountants to manage certain aspects of their finances or provide important financial guidance. If an accountant fails to uphold their professional duties, and a client suffers financial losses as a result, the client has a right to file a lawsuit. The experienced attorneys at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton are happy to provide legal representation to victims of accounting malpractice in the Provo, UT-area.
The standards and responsibilities of an accounting professional are taken very seriously. Accountants are given access to their clients’ financial records, which are typically very private documents. To ensure that accountants uphold a certain degree of honesty, integrity, and competency, there are two sets of governing standards in place specifically for the field of accounting. One is the Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), which apply to accountants providing an audit of their clients’ accounts. The second is the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which applies to accountants who are preparing financial documents on their clients’ behalf.
Grounds for Accounting Malpractice
Any accountant who is found to be in violation of the GAAS or GAAP can be held liable for accounting malpractice. There may be grounds for accounting malpractice whether the accountant has taken an intentional action, or made one in negligence. Accountant malpractice is usually classified as either a breach of contract or negligence.
- Breach of contract: An accounting client can claim breach of contract if three factors are met. First, there must be an agreement or contract in place promising certain services. Second, the accountant must fail to provide the promised services or fail to meet a certain standard of professionalism. And, finally, that failure must directly harm the client or result in financial losses.
- Negligence: Accounting malpractice due to negligence refers to situations in which the accountant neglects to provide reasonable accounting services, or fails to meet standards that could be expected from another similarly trained accountant in the same position. As with breach of contract, a claim can only be filed if this negligence results in damages or financial losses for the client.
Protect your Rights
Anyone who suspects that they have been a victim of accounting malpractice should contact an experienced malpractice attorney, such as those at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton, as soon as possible. Accountants may alter documents or misrepresent material to conceal any wrongdoing, so it is important to have an attorney who has worked cases such as these and knows how to prove liability. Our attorneys will fight to hold the liable party accountable and maximize the financial recovery for our clients.
If you are looking for an experienced malpractice attorney to protect your legal rights, you will find what you are looking for at Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss the details of your case and learn your best course of legal action. We look forward to hearing from you.