The stereotypical image of a certified public accountant as a “cold fish” who crunches numbers all day is passé. Today, CPAs are well-rounded professionals who are not limited to the traditional auditing or tax job. Many begin as auditors and tax specialists, but later expand into such areas as financial planning, information technology, electronic commerce, and expert consulting. The CPA’s ever widening horizon gives him or her a solid business background that could be very useful in resolving complex, commercial cases in an ADR forum. Les Livingstone discusses how a well-qualified CPA’s skills could be utilized in the field of ADR.
Solutions to thorny issues involved in complex commercial disputes often require the ADR neutral to possess a substantial depth of knowledge and experience in business and financial matters. The purpose of this article is to illustrate the significant contributions that well-qualified CPAs can make as ADR neutrals in large, complex, commercial disputes. The following necessary attributes of effective ADR neutrals will be considered in relation to well-qualified CPAs: command of substantive business knowledge and experience; impeccable professional ethics and integrity; and well-developed skills in applying ADR processes. Consider the following cases.