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Thought Leaders Global Elite - Forensic Accountants 2021

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Matthew Bialecki is “well respected in the post-M&A dispute space” and has over 25 years of experience handling high-profile forensic investigations. 

Questions & Answers

Matthew Bialecki is a managing director in A&M’s disputes and investigations practice and is an executive committee member. He has over 25 years of experience as an expert witness, arbitrator and consultant in areas including litigation, fraud and forensic investigations. He is a member of the select American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ (AICPA) Taskforce on Merger and Acquisition Disputes and is an author of the AICPA’s Practice Aid on Mergers and Acquisitions Disputes.

What do you enjoy most about working in disputes and investigations?

There are many things I enjoy about working in disputes and investigations but if I had to say what I enjoy the most it would be the broad diversity of the work. I am able to work in the courts, in arbitration, on investigations and every year I work for different clients, different law firms, in different industries and on many different issues. The broad range of these items keeps the work exciting every year.

You have worked across a range of industries. How do you ensure you maintain sector-specific knowledge to assist clients effectively?

I have worked across a broad range of industries but many times my projects involve technical accounting issues. Much of the accounting guidance is not industry specific. When it is, I can leverage past experience in the same industry, research the guidance on specific industry issues or seek assistance from an industry- specific partner within my firm.

What challenges do you think investigations proceedings will face in a post-covid-19 environment? 

I think there will be some challenges in investigations both during and in a post-covid-19 environment. Some of the procedures that are typical in investigations, like collecting phones and computers of targets will be more difficult as more people will continue to work remotely. Also, interviews which happen in almost all investigations will be more difficult to conduct in person because people may be remote.

What steps can companies take to ensure they are agile in the face of increasing compliance requirements?

Keeping on top of changing compliance requirements is an important step in making sure companies are agile as these compliance requirements change. Once you can quickly understand these changes, you are better able to adapt your business for market conditions while also making sure you stay in compliance with regulatory requirements. 

What shortcomings do you see in international accounting standards?

I think one of the shortcomings with international accounting standards is that it may not become a fully global set of standards. Some jurisdictions may want to keep their own standards in place.

What differences do you notice when providing evidence in litigation compared to arbitration proceedings?

There are typically fewer rules for providing evidence in arbitration proceedings (especially in an accounting arbitration). The process tends to be much faster and the amount of overall discovery in arbitration is usually significantly less.

What are your priorities for Alvarez & Marsal in the near future as managing director of the firm’s Chicago office?

In the Chicago office, our priorities are to continue to expand our capabilities in post-acquisition disputes, expert witness testimony on accounting and damage issues, economic consulting, US and global investigations and in forensic technology.

WWL says

The distinguished Matthew Bialecki has been a consistent “top name” in the market, culminating in his listing as a Global Elite Thought Leader. He has broad industry experience in energy, construction and telecoms, among other areas.

Questions & Answers

Mr Bialecki leads the disputes and investigations eastern US regional team, and is a member of the executive committee. He has more than 25 years’ experience as an expert witness, neutral arbitrator and consultant in a variety of areas, including litigation, fraud and forensic investigations. He specialises in post-acquisition disputes, disputes with complex financial issues and financial investigations. Prior to joining A&M, Mr Bialecki was a partner with a Big Four public accounting firm in Chicago. 

What attracted you to a career in forensic accounting?

In college, my initial plan was to go to law school. My major was public accounting and after working at a law firm in college, I decided I would do something in between accounting and being a lawyer, which was forensic accounting. I have loved doing it ever since.

What do clients look for in an effective forensic accountant?

Clients typically look for the proper credentials and relevant experience. Credentials might be certifications or specific training on dealing with a particular matter. Relevant experience might be familiarity with a specific issue the client is dealing with, experience working in a specific industry, or any other unique skills acquired that might be helpful in dealing with the current situation. Clients also want the work to be cost-effective.

How has the market changed since you started practising?

The market has changed tremendously over the 25-plus years I have been practising. When I started, I was working on resolution trust real estate crisis cases and have worked on many different types of cases since then. The market continues to change year after year, often driven by the focus of the regulators, and I have been able to adapt and change with the market. 

What is the greatest challenge for forensic experts in financial investigations in the USA today?

I think the greatest challenge for forensic experts in financial investigations today is the decrease in regulation, creating fewer opportunities in the marketplace.

In your opinion, where does the future of forensic accounting in investigations lie?

The future of forensic accounting in investigations lies in the ability to combine traditional forensic accounting experience with technology. As technology becomes more and more complex, the ability to create applications that can aid in an investigation and also create efficiencies in our work will be key to being successful.

How does Alvarez & Marsal distinguish itself from competition?

Alvarez & Marsal distinguishes itself from its competition by being a consulting firm known for asking tough questions, listening well, digging in and rolling up our sleeves. We are fact-driven and action-oriented. We act decisively and deliver practical solutions to unique problems.

What has been your proudest achievement to date?

My proudest career achievement to date was making partner in 2006. 

What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?

I would advise young practitioners to, of course, work hard, but also to bring solutions to challenges they have in their daily work. Do not wait for someone to always solve issues for you. You will always need guidance, but come to your superiors with perspectives that show you have thought about an issue and have an opinion about the direction a matter should take. That will make you stand out from your peers.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

Peers and clients say

"Matt is very well-respected in the post-M&A dispute space"
"He is top-drawer for competition disputes"
"He is simply outstanding"
"Mr Bialecki has a great reputation in the purchase price dispute arena"

Biography

Matthew Bialecki (CPA, CFF, CGMA) is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal's disputes and investigations group, leading its eastern US region and serving as a member of its executive committee. He has more than 25 years' experience as an expert witness, neutral arbitrator and consultant in a variety of areas, with a focus on pre and post-acquisition matters. He is, and has for many years, been a member of the select American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) taskforce on merger and acquisition disputes and is an author of the AICPA's practice aid on mergers and acquisitions disputes which provides guidance to CPAs serving as consultants, experts or neutral arbitrators.

Mr. Bialecki has experience in the automotive, professional services, banking, insurance, healthcare, construction, petroleum, speciality chemicals, finance, gaming, manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, branding, telecommunications, aerospace, agriculture, software, real estate, retail, and metals industries. He specialises in disputes with complex financial issues and is an expert on the application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and post-merger and acquisition disputes.

Mr. Bialecki has served as a neutral arbitrator, mediator, consultant and expert witness in a significant number of matters involving the application of GAAP, on earn-outs and in the determination of working capital in mergers and acquisitions involving accounts receivable, accrued vacation, percentage of completion revenue recognition, deferred revenue, allowances for co-op advertising, volume rebates, obsolete and excess inventory reserves, inventory physical count adjustments, accrued expenses, inter-company accounts, accounts payable, accrued coupon liabilities, contingent assets and liabilities, workers' compensation and franchise tax issues, among other current asset and liability accounts. He has been involved in the preparation of carve-out financial statements, closing balance sheets and working capital statements.

Mr Bialecki has been involved in many matters involving indemnification under purchase agreements and has reviewed and consulted on hundreds of purchase agreements.

Mr Bialecki has conducted many internal forensic accounting investigations, SEC investigations and restatements.

Prior to joining A&M, Mr Bialecki was a partner at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS) in Chicago. While with Deloitte FAS, Mr Bialecki was the midwest and north central region professional practice director (PPD) for the dispute and forensic practice, was the midwest insurance industry leader and was the midwest insurance industry fraud specialist.

Mr Bialecki earned a bachelor's degree in public accounting from Loyola University of Chicago. Mr Bialecki is a certified public accountant licensed in the states of Illinois and California, a chartered global management accountant, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Illinois CPA Society, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and certified through the AICPA in financial forensics.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Matthew Bialecki has a wealth of experience in providing first-class quantum and damages assessments in international arbitration proceedings. 

Biography

Matthew Bialecki (CPA, CFF, CGMA) is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal's disputes and investigations group, leading its eastern US region and serving as a member of its executive committee. He has more than 25 years' experience as an expert witness, neutral arbitrator and consultant in a variety of areas, with a focus on pre and post-acquisition matters. He is, and has for many years, been a member of the select American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) taskforce on merger and acquisition disputes and is an author of the AICPA's practice aid on mergers and acquisitions disputes which provides guidance to CPAs serving as consultants, experts or neutral arbitrators.

Mr. Bialecki has experience in the automotive, professional services, banking, insurance, healthcare, construction, petroleum, speciality chemicals, finance, gaming, manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, branding, telecommunications, aerospace, agriculture, software, real estate, retail, and metals industries. He specialises in disputes with complex financial issues and is an expert on the application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and post-merger and acquisition disputes.

Mr. Bialecki has served as a neutral arbitrator, mediator, consultant and expert witness in a significant number of matters involving the application of GAAP, on earn-outs and in the determination of working capital in mergers and acquisitions involving accounts receivable, accrued vacation, percentage of completion revenue recognition, deferred revenue, allowances for co-op advertising, volume rebates, obsolete and excess inventory reserves, inventory physical count adjustments, accrued expenses, inter-company accounts, accounts payable, accrued coupon liabilities, contingent assets and liabilities, workers' compensation and franchise tax issues, among other current asset and liability accounts. He has been involved in the preparation of carve-out financial statements, closing balance sheets and working capital statements.

Mr Bialecki has been involved in many matters involving indemnification under purchase agreements and has reviewed and consulted on hundreds of purchase agreements.

Mr Bialecki has conducted many internal forensic accounting investigations, SEC investigations and restatements.

Prior to joining A&M, Mr Bialecki was a partner at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS) in Chicago. While with Deloitte FAS, Mr Bialecki was the midwest and north central region professional practice director (PPD) for the dispute and forensic practice, was the midwest insurance industry leader and was the midwest insurance industry fraud specialist.

Mr Bialecki earned a bachelor's degree in public accounting from Loyola University of Chicago. Mr Bialecki is a certified public accountant licensed in the states of Illinois and California, a chartered global management accountant, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Illinois CPA Society, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and certified through the AICPA in financial forensics.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Global Elite Thought Leader Matthew Bialecki is “well respected in the post-M&A dispute space” and has over 25 years of experience handling high-profile forensic investigations. 

Biography

Matthew Bialecki (CPA, CFF, CGMA) is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal's disputes and investigations group, leading its eastern US region and serving as a member of its executive committee. He has more than 25 years' experience as an expert witness, neutral arbitrator and consultant in a variety of areas, with a focus on pre and post-acquisition matters. He is, and has for many years, been a member of the select American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) taskforce on merger and acquisition disputes and is an author of the AICPA's practice aid on mergers and acquisitions disputes which provides guidance to CPAs serving as consultants, experts or neutral arbitrators.

Mr. Bialecki has experience in the automotive, professional services, banking, insurance, healthcare, construction, petroleum, speciality chemicals, finance, gaming, manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, branding, telecommunications, aerospace, agriculture, software, real estate, retail, and metals industries. He specialises in disputes with complex financial issues and is an expert on the application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and post-merger and acquisition disputes.

Mr. Bialecki has served as a neutral arbitrator, mediator, consultant and expert witness in a significant number of matters involving the application of GAAP, on earn-outs and in the determination of working capital in mergers and acquisitions involving accounts receivable, accrued vacation, percentage of completion revenue recognition, deferred revenue, allowances for co-op advertising, volume rebates, obsolete and excess inventory reserves, inventory physical count adjustments, accrued expenses, inter-company accounts, accounts payable, accrued coupon liabilities, contingent assets and liabilities, workers' compensation and franchise tax issues, among other current asset and liability accounts. He has been involved in the preparation of carve-out financial statements, closing balance sheets and working capital statements.

Mr Bialecki has been involved in many matters involving indemnification under purchase agreements and has reviewed and consulted on hundreds of purchase agreements.

Mr Bialecki has conducted many internal forensic accounting investigations, SEC investigations and restatements.

Prior to joining A&M, Mr Bialecki was a partner at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS) in Chicago. While with Deloitte FAS, Mr Bialecki was the midwest and north central region professional practice director (PPD) for the dispute and forensic practice, was the midwest insurance industry leader and was the midwest insurance industry fraud specialist.

Mr Bialecki earned a bachelor's degree in public accounting from Loyola University of Chicago. Mr Bialecki is a certified public accountant licensed in the states of Illinois and California, a chartered global management accountant, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Illinois CPA Society, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and certified through the AICPA in financial forensics.

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

"He's built a great reputation"
"Matthew is a well-known figure in the purchase price dispute arena"

Biography

Matthew Bialecki (CPA, CFF, CGMA) is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal's disputes and investigations group, leading its eastern US region and serving as a member of its executive committee. He has more than 25 years' experience as an expert witness, neutral arbitrator and consultant in a variety of areas, with a focus on pre and post-acquisition matters. He is, and has for many years, been a member of the select American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' (AICPA) taskforce on merger and acquisition disputes and is an author of the AICPA's practice aid on mergers and acquisitions disputes which provides guidance to CPAs serving as consultants, experts or neutral arbitrators.

Mr. Bialecki has experience in the automotive, professional services, banking, insurance, healthcare, construction, petroleum, speciality chemicals, finance, gaming, manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, branding, telecommunications, aerospace, agriculture, software, real estate, retail, and metals industries. He specialises in disputes with complex financial issues and is an expert on the application of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and post-merger and acquisition disputes.

Mr. Bialecki has served as a neutral arbitrator, mediator, consultant and expert witness in a significant number of matters involving the application of GAAP, on earn-outs and in the determination of working capital in mergers and acquisitions involving accounts receivable, accrued vacation, percentage of completion revenue recognition, deferred revenue, allowances for co-op advertising, volume rebates, obsolete and excess inventory reserves, inventory physical count adjustments, accrued expenses, inter-company accounts, accounts payable, accrued coupon liabilities, contingent assets and liabilities, workers' compensation and franchise tax issues, among other current asset and liability accounts. He has been involved in the preparation of carve-out financial statements, closing balance sheets and working capital statements.

Mr Bialecki has been involved in many matters involving indemnification under purchase agreements and has reviewed and consulted on hundreds of purchase agreements.

Mr Bialecki has conducted many internal forensic accounting investigations, SEC investigations and restatements.

Prior to joining A&M, Mr Bialecki was a partner at Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP (Deloitte FAS) in Chicago. While with Deloitte FAS, Mr Bialecki was the midwest and north central region professional practice director (PPD) for the dispute and forensic practice, was the midwest insurance industry leader and was the midwest insurance industry fraud specialist.

Mr Bialecki earned a bachelor's degree in public accounting from Loyola University of Chicago. Mr Bialecki is a certified public accountant licensed in the states of Illinois and California, a chartered global management accountant, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Illinois CPA Society, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and certified through the AICPA in financial forensics.

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