In each “Meet the Team” segment, we highlight a different professional on our Family Law team. The experience and expertise of our professionals allow us to bring a full suite of valuation and forensics services to our clients. We hope you enjoy getting to know us a bit better.

Tell us a little about your career and what influenced your “return” to Mercer Capital.

Karolina Calhoun: During my college experience at Rhodes College, I interned at Mercer Capital, Morgan Keegan (now known as Raymond James) in investment banking and then another internship in wealth management, and ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I also interned internationally with Ernst and Young (EY) in Warsaw, Poland, which is where I was born and have many family members that still live there.

After graduating from Rhodes College, I completed my Master of Accountancy and CPA accreditation. I started working for EY in their Audit and Assurances department. During my 3+ years at EY, I had the opportunity to work with Fortune 500 clients, as well as other sized companies in diverse industries such as chemical and agriculture, logistics, medical devices, healthcare, and wealth management and investment management. At the time that I came back to Mercer Capital, I was ready to take my public accounting knowledge and experience and pivot to finance-related client work.

How does your Big 4 public accounting background assist you and your clients in a litigation matter?

Karolina Calhoun: The knowledge of accounting and financial reporting is important. It helps me quickly understand the financial statements of businesses, personal financial statements, and tax returns, among other financial documents. My auditing experience was investigative in a sense, so I have a good idea of what to look for and other red flags. Additionally, from a client perspective, individuals and attorneys tend to trust a CPA’s professional expertise in litigation cases, especially in specialized areas like valuation and forensics. My additional credentials, the ABV and CFF, further bolster the expertise I can offer clients.

You’re involved with the AICPA Forensics & Valuation Services Section. Can you tell us more about this organization and your involvement?

Karolina Calhoun: I am so thankful for the national and global opportunities/positions I hold now with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). I am serving as the Valuation Chair of the AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services (FVS) Conference and I also serve on the CFF Exam Task Force. My committee and task force positions have provided me the opportunities to be involved with thought leaders across the globe and assist our evolving profession. During my tenure so far, I have met and collaborated with many colleagues from all over the United States and beyond North America.

I became involved with the AICPA FVS Section at an early point in my career at Mercer Capital. I attended the NextGen training program, which is catered towards rising leaders in the FVS profession. After meeting and networking with AICPA staff and volunteers, I applied to be considered for future volunteer opportunities. I was so excited when I was invited to join the AICPA Forensics & Valuation Services Conference Planning Committee. Then, in 2019 I was asked to be the 2020 & 2021 Valuation Chair. In this position, I am integral in leading the Committee’s efforts in planning our annual conference, selecting topics, inviting speakers, and collaborating with the AICPA staff & speakers.

In my role on the CFF Exam Task Force, I am contributing to the efforts to pivot the CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics) accreditation towards a universal body of knowledge and examination process. Our committee evaluated the existing test bank of questions and rewrote and wrote new questions to comply with our global framework. As I mentioned earlier, I was born in Poland and interned abroad, so I love being a part of this global initiative as our profession continues to evolve.

How meaningful is it for the Litigation Services Group to offer both valuation & forensic services?

Karolina Calhoun: During my tenure at Mercer Capital, as a CPA with an interest in finance, valuation, and forensic accounting, I have helped establish the Litigation Services Group at Mercer Capital. We have extended our services beyond valuation and financial consulting to also encompass forensic services. I think it is very valuable to be able to provide a full suite of services as oftentimes, valuation and forensic services are interconnected.

Take a divorce litigation for example. Historically, Mercer Capital would be called for the valuation of a business, and an external forensic accountant would provide the lifestyle analysis and other forensic needs. However, now Mercer Capital can assist with both the valuation and forensic scope of that divorce engagement. Extending beyond divorce litigation, our team provides valuation, forensic accounting, and financial consulting for a variety of engagements: business damages, lost profits, shareholder disputes, breach of contract, trademark infringement, and estate and tax planning, among others.

What drew you to financial forensics and in what ways are Mercer Capital professionals skilled for these types of litigation matters?

Karolina Calhoun: I enjoy the combination of accounting, economics, finance, and forensics. Litigation services is a field where we have to put all of these skills together and evaluate the facts and circumstances unique to the particular matter(s) at hand – no fact pattern is ever the same. Our Litigation Services Group at Mercer Capital is comprised of qualified professionals who have the necessary skills and experience in accounting, finance, and economics and in a wide variety of industries and types of matters.