Jeff Harwell is a professional business valuator and damages specialist with over 35 years of experience. As the managing Principal of Harwell & Company, his skill includes valuation for the purpose of merger and acquisition, divorce, tax matters related to gift and estate, shareholder disputes, expert witness testimony, exit planning, lost earnings and economic damages, personal injury, wrongful death and termination, fraud, and asset tracing. Complimenting his valuation experience, Jeff served as a public company financial executive, turnaround and operations consultant, private company president, and owner of a successful start-up manufacturing and distribution company.
In Jeff’s practice, damages calculations often accompany professional business valuations in situations where business owners are injured on the job and unable to work as before, or in the event of a death, the business is sold.
Jeff found damages calculations very time consuming because they required him to have a combination of current data and intricate self-made spreadsheets. Then Jeff had to spend more time doing the final report so that it was up to court standards. Sometimes Jeff was required to testify in court to explain his findings.
When assumptions had to change, Jeff had to start from scratch to revise his calculations and be extremely careful not to make any errors. Since Jeff is only human, it was always possible that mistakes could creep in.
When Jeff worked on a case, he needed data for his calculation which he had to gather by hand. “If I wanted the mortality tables, I had to go down to a Federal depositary library such as a public library. I copied the information needed and then had to put the charts in my spreadsheet,” says Jeff Harwell, professional business valuator and damages specialist. “This data then had to be kept current as I used it for all my calculations.”
Over the years, Jeff used his expertise and case experience to create spreadsheets to compute his data. With each case, he had to use his skill to decide how to tackle cases, how to calculate values and which studies he had to use. “For Dollar-Value-of-a-Day for household services, I would have to figure out what those household services were and work out an hourly rate.”
Over the years, Jeff found that keeping his legacy spreadsheets current was very challenging. As different versions of Excel came and went, he had to adapt them to suit them. This added to the demands on Jeff’s time, added this was the time Jeff spent on adapting them as laws and economic conditions changed.
Doing calculations this way was also risky for Jeff, especially when he found himself testifying in court and his calculations were challenged by another expert. “You needed a strong résumé to be able to stand behind your own data and calculations,” says Harwell. “Forensic financial analysis was carried out and I had to choose statistics carefully for each model. Then I had to do my own narrative in Word by cutting and pasting charts and numbers.”
Time is money so it didn’t take Jeff long to realize that he had to find a way to make the process faster, easier and more accurate. Jeff knew that ultimately this would make his practice more profitable and more responsiveness.
The Solution: Damages Advocate
He realized he couldn’t continue to scale with his old approach, heard about using software instead of spreadsheets and then decided to check out Damages Advocate, the #1 Best-Selling Damage Calculation Software.
It didn’t take long for Jeff to get up to speed with Damages Advocate since it was web-based and could easily export to Excel and Word. It also didn’t take long for Jeff to realize that it saved an unprecedented amount of time because it did most of the work for him. It also had all the latest data, so Jeff no longer needs to gather data by hand.
Jeff also didn’t need to spend time calculating which was the best approach to take since Damages Advocate knew which studies and options to use because it was designed by forensic economists. This ensured a thorough and standardized approach. It also helped to eliminate the possibility of error by ensuring that Jeff followed a step-by-step process. Furthermore, to ensure that Jeff didn’t leave anything out, Damages Advocate used markers to indicate which data was missing.
Damages Advocate has all its own spreadsheets and the most current data built-in, so there was no need for Jeff to gather his own data. All Jeff needed to do was setup a case, input the data variables and Damages Advocate did the rest.
Later, should assumptions change, Jeff could easily make changes and generate a supplementary report. Then Jeff submitted the Word-based report for court use and if he needed to testify in court, he would feel confident knowing that his calculation was solid and court approved.
“Each time I use web-based Damages Advocate, I know that the latest laws and conditions have been incorporated to ensure that calculations are accurate and reflect the current economic climate,” says Harwell. “With the heavy lifting done, I can focus on applying my expertise and case specific research to wrap things up.”
Since Damages Advocate takes a very systematic approach there is little room for error and the time saving it represents is significant. “I recouped my investment in Damages Advocate after the first case,” says Harwell. “It also increased revenue and made my practice more profitable because of the time saving(s) and the increased number cases I can take on.”
“Choosing to use Damages Advocate is not only the smart choice,” says Harwell. “It just makes sense – why re-invent the wheel?”
About Damages Advocate
ValuSource’s Damages Advocate for Personal Injury, Wrongful Death and Employment Law are web-based applications that automate the entire calculation process including: data entry, data integration, calculation and report generation. Whether novice or expert, with proven professional strength damages software, there is no longer a reason to perform this analysis manually.
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- Accuracy and availability of data
- Avoiding errors
- Legacy spreadsheets must be updated and converted if they become incompatible with new version of Excel.
- Damages calculations can be very time consuming
- Attorneys require reports in a specific format
- Changing assumptions and adjusting processes for unusual circumstances means having to re-do the calculation
- Damages Advocate
- Saves time and resources
- Does the work for you
- Makes valuators more responsive
- Follows a logical process
- Unbeatable accuracy
- Offers the most current data
- Extremely reliable
- Reports provided in format accepted by attorneys
- Should assumptions need to change, calculations can be easily reviewed and a supplementary report can be generated
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