When Your Forensic Accounting Firm Is Worth Millions, No Point in Being Humble

WaPo columnist Thomas Heath recently profiled a Virginia accountant who rakes in the big bucks in forensic accounting for both sides. He's the guy who helped Credit Suisse First Boston prove it had nothing to do with Enron's collapse. He also defended a family who invested millions in Bernie Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme when the court-appointed trustee wanted the family to give back part of their take.

To give you an idea of how long the guy has been around, back when he started with Ernst & Young, it was still called Ernst & Ernst and he made a $9,300 starting salary.

It is unglamorous but lucrative stuff. Johnson — a certified public accountant — charges between $500 and $600 an hour. His firm, which is called Veris Consulting, grosses more than $15 million a year, allowing him to live the life of a country squire, sort of. He routinely gets offers from suitors to buy the firm, which probably is worth millions.

His Reston staff of 70 number crunchers does pretty well, too. Accountants fresh out of college start at $60,000 a year. Seasoned people can earn six-figure salaries.

I’m good,” said the entrepreneur, whose real talent lies not in research but in making cryptic financial transactions understandable to judges and juries.

Well then. If anyone wants to make $60,000 out of school and work for a confident (possibly narcissistic) forensic accounting superstar, guess you know where to apply.

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