© D.L. Crumbley
A forensic accountant must be careful not to misrepresent either the identity or the purpose of the contact with a questionable party.
Surveillance is not an activity which accountants normally perform (e.g., may need a private investigator’s license).
Typical state statute requires a PI license for: “the investigation by a person or persons for the purpose of obtaining information with reference to any of the following: the causes and origin of, or responsibility for, … damage or injuries to real or personal property; the business of securing evidence to be used before investigating committees or boards of award or arbitration or in the trial of civil or criminal cases and the preparation therefore….”
In Florida, Legal Opinion 97-9 provides that any person who holds a professional license under the laws of this state, and when such person is providing services or expert advice in the profession or occupation in which that person is so licensed, is exempt from private investigator licensing requirements. Thus, a licensed accountant (e.g., CPA) would be permitted to perform forensic accounting without a private investigator’s license.