Ralph Q. Summerford is the president of Forensic Strategic Solutions, LLC. Mr. Summerford has a broad range of forensic expertise, testifying as an expert witness in federal and state courts on matters involving complicated financial transaction, including fraud, economic damages, business valuation, bankruptcy and accountants’ malpractice. He works closely with plaintiff and defense attorneys, corporate boards and audit committees, bankruptcy trustees and creditors’ committees, insurance company special investigation units, government inspector generals, and governmental entities.
Mr Summerford has served as a faculty member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for over 20 years, traveling around the United States and abroad teaching fraud examination courses to auditors, bank examiners, law enforcement, attorneys, and financial analysts. Mr. Summerford is rated consistently as one of the top instructors where he receives outstanding reviews from the individuals who attend his courses.
Mr. Summerford was recognized by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (“ACFE”) with the 2010 Cressey Award. The Cressey Award is the ACFE’s highest honor, which recognizes a lifetime of achievement in the detection and deterrence of fraud. Mr. Summerford also served as the Vice Chairman for the ACFE Board of Regents, Past Chairman of its Professional Standards and Practices Committee, and Past Chairman of its Board of Review. He is a guest lecturer at seminars, colleges and universities where he strives to enhance the understanding of fraud and forensic accounting. He has published articles that have appeared in Accounting Today, Preventing Business Fraud, Financial Fraud, Bank Fraud & IT Security Report, Dunn on Damages, and Fraud Magazine.
Professional Designations and Certifications
CPA: Certified Public Accountant, 1971
CFE: Certified Fraud Examiner, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 1993
CIRA: Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor, 2003
ABV: Accredited in Business Valuation, 2006
CFF: Certified in Financial Forensics, 2008
CDBV: Certified in Distressed Business Valuation, 2014
- Forensic and investigative accounting
- Bankruptcy and insolvency
- Litigation consulting
- Fraud examination
- Economic damages
- Accountants’ malpractice
Professional Memberships and Affiliations
- ACFE Board of Review, Chairman, 2004 – 2007
- ACFE Board of Regents, Vice Chairman, 2000 – 2003
- ACFE Member of Professional Standards and Practices Committee, Chairman, 1996 – 1999
- Former Panel of Experts, Dunn on Damages, published by Valuation Products & Service, LLC
- Former Editorial Board Member, Bank Fraud & IT Security Report published by Southeast Consulting, Inc.
- Former President, Vice President, and Program Committee Chairman, Alabama Chapter of the ACFE
- Faculty Member and Member, ACFE
- Former Member,University of Alabama in Birmingham Accounting Advisory Council
- Member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
- Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
- Member, Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors
- Member, Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants, Past Chairman of Practice Review Committee
- Member, Various State Boards of Certified Public Accountants
- Member, Advisory Board , UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center
- Former Member and Officer, American Institute on Federal Taxation
- Member,Birmingham Kiwanis Club
- Former Director,Birmingham Broadway Series
- Former Member,Birmingham YMCA Board of Management
- Former Director, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, Inc.
Civic & Community Engagement
- Member, Birmingham Kiwanis Club
- Former Member and Director, Birmingham Broadway Series
- Former Member, Birmingham YMCA Board of Management
- Former Director, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham, Inc.
- Member, University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Comprehensive Cancer Center Advisory Board
- Bachelor of Science, University of Alabama, 1968
Representative Seminars and Lectures
- Finding Fraud in all the Wrong Places, 19th Annual ACFE Fraud Conference and Exhibition, Boston, MA; Institute of Internal Auditors, Bonita Springs, FL
- Decreasing Damages in an Emotionally Charged Case and Damage Experts in Business Valuation and Breach Business Fiduciary Duty Cases, DRI Damages Seminar, Las Vegas, NV
- Building Your Fraud Examination Practice
- Suspicious Activity Reporting: A Plan for Compliance, An Internal Auditor’s Approach to Fraud Investigation, Who Killed Sarbanes-Oxley?, Topics in Building Your Fraud Examination Practice, Financial Profiling: Following the Money Trail, Fundamentals of Writing Expert Reports, and Fraud and Abuse in Construction Projects, 18th Annual ACFE Conference and Exhibition
- Fraud Detection and Prevention, Ethical and Lawful Workplace Investigations, and Forensic Investigation: When the Office is a Crime Scene, ACFE 17th Annual Fraud Seminar, Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter, Dallas, TX
- What to Do After Your Client Discovers Fraud, Birmingham Bar Association
- Effective Media Pitching to Build Brand Awareness & Attract Clients, AICPA National Fraud Conference and Litigation Services, Las Vegas, NV
- “How to Make the Most of Your Year-End Charitable Donations,” Birmingham Business Journal. December 27, 2013.
- “How CPAs Should Respond to a Malpractice Suit,” CPA Practice Advisor. August 5, 2013.
- “Contract Damages and Lost Profits Determined Through Stipulations, Depositions and Exhibits,” Dunn on Damages. Spring 2012. Issue 6.
- “Memorandum: Ralph Summerford, forensic accountant, Forensic Strategic Solutions PC,” Birmingham News. September 1, 2011.
- “Reliability of Business Plans to Support Lost Profits Damages,” Dunn on Damages. Winter 2010. Issue 1.
- “Guarding Against Embezzlement Fraud,” Bank Fraud & IT Security Report. November 2004, Vol. 2, No. 11.
- “Fumbled Investigations Can Lead to Legal Woes,” Birmingham Business Journal. September 10, 2004.Vol. 21 No.37.
- “Avoiding Embezzlement Embarrassment (and Worse),” The White Paper. November/December 2003. Vol. 17, No. 6.
- “Check Kiting Prevention Strategies,” Banker’s Ideanet. August 2003.
- “Expert Witnessing: The Changing Landscape,” The White Paper. July/August 2002. Vol. 16, No. 4.
- “Reserving the Right to Audit the Suspicious Vendor,” The White Paper. May/June 2001. Vol. 15, No. 3.
- “Cross-Referencing is Key to Fraud Examinations,” Accounting Today. June 12-25, 2000. Vol. 14, No. 10.
- “Credit Card Fraud,” Financial Fraud, August 1999, Vol. 3, No. 2
- “Fraud Detection & Prevention with ACL,” Financial Fraud, July 1999, Vol. 3, No. 1.
- “Fidelity Bonds Always Cover Fraud Losses – or Do They?” Institute of Management and Administration’s (IOMA) Report on Preventing Business Fraud. September 1997. Issue 97-9.
- “Why It’s Important to Investigate Tips – and How to Do so,” Institute of Management and Administration’s (IOMA) Report on Preventing Business Fraud. August 1997. Issue 97-8.