Elaine Harwood heads the firm’s accounting practice. She consults to clients and works with experts on litigation, complex enforcement matters brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and corporate investigations. She is an expert on financial accounting, financial reporting, and auditing. Dr. Harwood has served for more than twenty years as a consultant and expert on a wide range of liability and damages issues.
Women We Admire named Dr. Harwood to its annual list of the Top 50 Women Leaders in Los Angeles.
Dr. Harwood works with clients and experts in prominent securities class actions. Her experience includes analysis of loss causation and damages in disclosure cases for clients in a wide range of industries, including financial institutions, consumer products, communications, technology, and energy.
SEC and PCAOB enforcement
Dr. Harwood’s expertise includes all phases of SEC and PCAOB enforcement activity, from informal investigations through to trial or administrative hearings. Dr. Harwood has addressed allegations related to:
- Adequacy of disclosures
- Alleged financial reporting fraud
- Appropriateness of audit procedures, including procedures performed by international affiliates of U.S. accounting firms
- Alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
- Adverse consequential damages of regulatory sanctions
Accounting and auditing
Dr. Harwood specializes in financial accounting, financial reporting, and auditing issues that arise in investigations, litigation, and enforcement actions. She is an authority on:
- U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
- PCAOB and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) auditing standards
- Internal control over financial reporting
- International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)
- Governmental accounting standards
- Forensic accounting
Research and presentations
Dr. Harwood’s coauthored articles and publications include Cornerstone Research’s annual report on accounting class action filings and settlements, and annual reports on accounting and auditing enforcement by the SEC and PCAOB. She speaks widely to legal and trade audiences on trends and new developments in litigation and regulatory enforcement, financial accounting and reporting, and auditing.
Dr. Harwood is a member of the advisory council of the University of Southern California’s SEC and Financial Reporting Institute. In 2023, she was one of just four women named to Who’s Who Legal’s (WWL’s) inaugural list of Thought Leaders USA – Investigations Forensic Accountants. WWL has also recognized her as a Global Leader Consulting Expert – Forensic Accountants in the legal investigations space.
Before joining Cornerstone Research, Dr. Harwood was a professor at Boston College. She is a certified public accountant (CPA), is certified in financial forensics (CFF) by the AICPA, and has a Ph.D. in business administration with a concentration in accounting.