New York (May 14, 2003) -- By all accounts, business is booming for forensic accountants, thanks in part, many firms say, to an uptick in internal corporate investigations spurred by Sarbanes-Oxley.

While forensic accounting services were once thought to be the domain of only the largest firms, a number of firms beyond the Big Four have branched out and built lucrative practices in one of the profession’s hottest niche services -- forensic accounting. Among them are New York-based firms Eisner and Berdon, Chicago-based Grant Thornton, Clifton Gunderson in Peoria, Ill., and Denver-based RGL Forensic Accountants & Consultants.

An increase in internal corporate investigations into financial fraud are driving growth in forensic accounting services at Grant Thornton, according to Larry Redler, national director of forensic accounting and investigative services. Redler said the firm is seeing three to four times as many internal investigations compared to three years ago.

“A big piece of what we do is still litigation support -- the calculation of damages. That’s still a nice base of business, but the real growth is in the investigative area right now,” Redler told Redler said some of increase is coming from business picked up from the Big Four, who must often bow out of engagements because of their public company audit work. “Relationships that didn’t used to be considered conflicts are now considered conflicts, either by the company or by its counsel," he said.

-- Melissa Klein

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