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Basics of Accounting for Lawyers 2008: What Every Practicing Lawyer Needs to Know

Author(s): Sonya Andreassen, Karen Kincaid Balmer, Lawrence M. Cirelli, Laura Vasey, Curtis Burr
Practice Area: Accounting, Corporate & Securities
Published: Jul 2008
ISBN: 9781402410871
PLI Item #: 14137
CHB Spine #: B1684

Curtis has over 25 years of business valuation and litigation consulting experience. Industries served include wine/vineyard industry, financial services, real estate, professional service firms, wholesale and retail, alternative energy and manufacturing. He has performed forensic investigations in connection with partner and partnership disputes, shareholder disputes, damage analysis involving breach of fiduciary duty claims in securities litigation; calculation of economic damages and lost profits in cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets, product liability claims and wrongful termination cases. He has consulted on and testified in a broad of cases involving:

  • Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
  • Breach of fiduciary duty actions against investment advisors
  • Economic damages and earning loss
  • Actions against professionals
  • Construction claims and damages
  • Disputes arising out of Buy/Sell agreements
  • Business acquisitions and valuation
  • Personal injury and wrongful death claims
  • Solvency and fraudulent conveyance issues

Education & Professional Credentials

  • Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration—Golden Gate University
  • MBA/Taxation — Golden Gate University
  • BA/Accounting — Golden Gate University
  • Certified Public Accountant, licensed in 1978 in California
  • Certified in Financial Forensics in 2008 by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Professional Affiliations

  • Past Trustee and Chair — Board of Trustees, Golden Gate University
  • Board Chair — Rotary Foundation, San Francisco
  • Member Dean's Advisory Board — School of Accounting, and Golden Gate University
  • Co-Chair — PLI "Accounting for Lawyers"
  • Business Valuation instructor — Association of Insolvency Restructuring Advisors
  • Member — Association of Insolvency Restructuring Advisors
  • Member — American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • Member — California Society of CPAs (CalCPA)
  • Member — National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA)

Lawrence M. Cirelli is a trial lawyer and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. His practice focuses on complex business litigation, including disputes among shareholders, owners, officers and directors of companies, fiduciary duty, contracts, professional liability, false advertising, trade secrets, non-competition agreements and unfair competition claims. He also represents clients in partnership and corporate dissolution actions. His experience as a certified public accountant brings a unique skill set and perspective to these types of matters. A significant part of his practice also involves the defense of consumer class actions. Larry has tried numerous jury and court trials, as well as arbitrations, in a range of cases spanning business torts, commercial contracts, business dissolutions, real estate, insurance, environmental, professional liability and products liability.

Professional Summary

Resourceful, results-oriented risk, compliance and investigations professional accomplished at both leading teams through fast-paced and high stakes investigations and working collaboratively and cost-effectively with business personnel to manage ethics and compliance risks.  Strong executive presence, project management and constructive communication skills, with international experience.

Professional Experience

PNC Bank, N.A.   2011 – Present

Vice President – Enterprise Fraud Management, Downers Grove, Illinois  2011 – Present

Lead a specialized team focused on preventing, detecting and investigating suspicions of mortgage fraud for PNC’s mortgage business.  In this leadership role, extensive involvement in team and individual performance management, professional development and initiatives around strong, constructive team engagement.  Also consistently demonstrate strong risk management focus and success in leveraging intelligence obtained from investigations, industry interactions and discussions with law enforcement for mortgage fraud awareness, prevention and detection purposes within PNC’s mortgage business.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP 1998 - 2011

Director of Forensic Services, Chicago, Illinois      2002-2011

Manage diverse teams through high profile, time sensitive, complex investigations for public and private companies.  Interact with Board of Directors, senior executives, counsel and regulatory personnel.  Extensive experience with global manufacturing and service companies. 

  • Provide cost-effective, realistic guidance on leading practices for internal investigations, risk mitigation, fraud prevention and compliance based on extensive investigations experience.
  • Drive focused, results-oriented investigations that promptly and efficiently address key stakeholder needs, including those of auditors, the SEC, and other regulatory and law enforcement agencies.
  • Concisely communicate internal control considerations, process improvement recommendations and investigation findings to senior management, Audit Committees, Boards of Directors and counsel.
  • "On call" expert for internal audit and compliance teams as they respond to a wide range of Sarbanes-Oxley "whistleblower" communications, address critical fraud, internal control and compliance risks both proactively and reactively and fulfil fraud, ethics and compliance training requirements.
  • Advocate for and advise companies on M&A agreement terms, including working capital and purchase price clauses and adjustments; analyze contract terms and supporting documentation to frame persuasive, supported positions and adjustment calculations.
  • Conduct investigative procedures on consecutive bank closings with the FDIC, with an in-depth understanding of the FDIC investigation process, protocols and focus.

Manager in Transaction Services, Dallas, Texas/Chicago, Illinois   2000-2002

Led due diligence teams in operational and financial analysis of prospective acquisition targets, with emphasis on rapid, relevant findings on quality of assets, earnings and projected cash flows.  Extensive experience with in-bound capital, manufacturing and energy-related acquisitions.

  • Led due diligence teams assessing financial performance, creating and refining cash flow models and identifying and communicating key findings/recommendations to deal teams and client executives; advised and collaborated on strategic goals and due diligence activities.   
  • Advised on incorporating key due diligence findings into pricing and contract terms and provided insight into profitability and cashflow to maximize deal value and address areas of risk.

Global Capital Markets Group Manager, London, UK    1998-2000

US GAAP and SEC specialist to foreign private issuers preparing to IPO and on 1933 and 1934 Act requirements.  Advised companies on requirements for accessing US capital markets through registration with the SEC and guided the accounting and financial reporting components of their SEC filings.

Coopers & Lybrand LLP, Kansas City, Missouri     1995 - 1998

Conducted external audits for public and private companies, prepared financial statements, drafted footnotes and advised on accounting/reporting requirements.  Extensive regulated industry experience.

Credentials & Education

Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF)
Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
AICPA Member

Masters of Accountancy, University of Missouri-Columbia, 1995
Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude, Columbia College, 1993

Presentations & Publications (selected)

  • Co-Chair for the 2010-2013 annual AICPA Forensic/Business Valuation+ National Conference planning committee, committee member 2008-2009
  • Chair of the Practising Law Institute Basics of Accounting program (Chicago) 2008-2012
  • Chair of the Practising Law Institute Pocket MBA for Attorneys program (Chicago) 2010-2011
  • Co-author of "Insights from an M&A Monitor"; Executive Counsel, July/August 2009
  • Contributing author of A Guide to Forensic Accounting Investigation, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006 1st edition and 2012 update
  • Frequent speaker at mortgage fraud risk management or compliance-related conferences, including the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) National Mortgage Fraud Issues Conference (2012, 2014), American Conference Institute (ACI) Mortgage Fraud conference (2013), Predictive Methods conference and others
  • Presentations to numerous Fortune 500 insurance, energy, financial services and manufacturing companies  on compliance, investigations, accounting and regulatory topics
  • Adjunct faculty, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, Detecting and Investigating Financial Fraud, Winter 2004, periodic guest lecturer 2005-2007
  • Instructor of Foundations of Consulting for PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory new hires 2009-2010
  • National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Annual General Counsel Institute, 2006 -2009 on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, auditor interactions, risk areas for attorneys and other compliance topics

Awards & Organizations

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers Chairman's Award for creating and leading the "Women Leaders in Financial Services" initiative 
  • Young Women's Leadership Charter School Board Member and Board Development & Membership Committee Chair

As a Certified Public Accountant, holder of the AICPA's Certified in Financial Forensics accreditation, a Certified Fraud Examiner and a Certified Forensic Accountant, Karen's areas of expertise include litigation services, generally accepted accounting standards, auditing standards compliance, fraud investigations, evaluation and implementation of internal controls, generally accepted accounting standards and international accounting standards. Karen has performed investigative and FCPA compliance work for more than twenty five years in numerous countries around the world.