Elaine Harwood heads the firm’s accounting practice. She consults to clients and works with experts on securities 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.
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.
SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Activity Increased Sharply in FY 2022
SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Activity—Year in Review: FY 2022
Accounting Class Action Filings and Settlements—2022 Review and Analysis
Total Value of Settlements in Accounting-Related Securities Class Actions Rises in 2022
Elaine Harwood Recognized among the Top 50 Women Leaders of Los Angeles for 2023
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Enforcement Activity—2022 Year in Review
PCAOB Enforcement Activity Up Sharply in 2022
2023 WWL: Thought Leaders USA – Investigations Forensic Accountants
- Pro Bono: Review of Claremont McKenna College’s Economics-Accounting Program
- Auditor Independence: Individual Auditor
- Morgan et al. v. U.S. Soccer Federation Inc.
- Purchase Price Adjustment Dispute
- Regulatory Matter Involving Alleged Failure of an Auditor to Detect Fraud
- Summary Judgment Victory in Barclays Securities Litigation
- Aéropostale Inc. et al.
- United States of America v. David A. Stockman et al.
- Omnicom Group Inc. Securities Litigation
- AOL Time Warner Inc. Securities Litigation