The capacity of expert accounting witnesses to provide understandable evidence has been challenged by Australian judges. They have assessed expert accounting evidence as the most difficult evidence, from eight disciplinary areas, for them to evaluate adequately. This paper reports the responses of a sample of ten expert accounting witnesses to such assessment. We reveal the difficulties these accounting experts have experienced in presenting evidence. These include the unfamiliarity of judges and barristers with commercial principles; the intimidatory environment of courts; and outmoded attitudes to the use of modern communication aids. Several ways of improving expert accounting evidence are canvassed, including the provision of communications skills training for accountants and financial literacy training for judges and barristers.
Australian Accounting Review / Vol. 14, No. 32, pp.73-80