In the Triangle Business Journal article, “Industry Crossover: How accounting and law mix,” Smith Anderson partner Heyward Armstrong comments on how accounting firms and law firms can successfully work together.
Referencing Smith Anderson’s extensive experience working with accounting firms, Heyward says, “Our lawyers share many of the same clients and provide support to many of those clients in a manner that requires a collaborative effort among the lawyers and accountants, as well as with the clients.” As an example, he describes that one of the first decisions a company makes – what form of entity to use – is driven by both legal and tax considerations.
In that same collaborative spirit, Heyward notes that Smith Anderson represents public companies, which means that many of their disclosure considerations involve both legal and accounting issues. “We love accountants!” shared Heyward. “Ensuring close collaboration between a client’s accountants and its lawyers positions our clients at Smith Anderson for the greatest success because each set of advisers informs (and thus improves) the advice of the other.” In addition, Smith Anderson often works with accounting firms to jointly host educational seminars or other events to help keep the local business community informed.
Heyward adds that Smith Anderson also represents acquisitive companies, and accountants provide critical expertise in the evaluation of financial results of targets, working with the firm to structure tax-efficient transactions and review the financial provisions in purchase agreements. On the litigation side, accountants assist with modeling losses and performing forensic due diligence, as well.
Heyward’s practice focuses on corporate and securities law, including advising companies and their officers and directors on public company securities compliance, public and private offerings, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and corporate governance matters. These matters involve a variety of industries, including a focus on the pharmaceutical, biotech and other life sciences areas. Prior to attending law school, Heyward was employed as a senior accountant with a global accounting firm in Raleigh, N.C., in its Assurance and Advisory Business Services group, where he supervised the planning and completion of audits of a number of public and private companies. He is also licensed as a Certified Public Accountant.
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