“Trust, but verify.” – Ronald Reagan
Who is/was the biggest influence in your business life and how did s/he shape who you’ve become?
My father was the biggest influence on my professional life. He told me to always move forward, try new things, and not be satisfied by the status quo.
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently and why?
Soon after starting my public accounting career in Houston, I received a battlefield promotion, and soon found myself overwhelmed by work on separate projects for separate managers. Rather than asking for help, I failed in my efforts to be a superhero. Since then, I have come to learn that asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of both maturity and respect for your co-workers and clients.
What is your proudest professional moment, and why?
While conducting a forensic investigation of an iconic sports franchise, I discovered how a pending transaction would likely transfer key IP rights (and much of the underlying value of the team) for minimal value. Once this issue was explained to league management and counsel, the pending transaction was blocked, resulting in the franchise being sold to a more financially stable owner group. On that day, I made a big difference.
What is your favorite quote that best describes your professional philosophy?
“Trust, but verify.” -Ronald Reagan
If I weren’t an accountant/consultant, I’d be a __________________. Why?
Restaurant owner. I enjoy cooking for my family and friends – trying out new recipes, figuring out how to make them better. And yes, I do have my own ideas about Texas BBQ….
Ben Sheppard, CPA, is a Managing Director leading the Firm’s Litigation and Forensic Consulting Practice and has more than 30 years of experience. He has deep expertise in litigation support and expert witness services, as well as forensic investigations and valuations. Ben works closely with clients to helping them find answers to situations that may pose a threat to their business.
Starting his public accounting career in Houston, Ben previously worked at a Big Four firm before moving to Los Angeles and accepting a job at Disney. Since then he has also worked for big studios such as MGM and Warner Brothers and as a consultant on litigation, forensic investigation and valuation projects.
Ben has offered expert witness opinions in over 35 separate matters, in state courts, federal courts and arbitrations. He has also served as a court appointed neutral expert in a state court matter.
Ben is a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Valuation Analyst. He is also a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and American Bar Association and is a frequent speaker for a variety of entertainment conferences and for other organizations. He has been published in Wiley's Litigation Services Handbook, Sixth Edition and ABA's Landslide Magazine.
Ben has a BBA in Management Info Systems and MBA in Accounting from the University of Houston.
Favorite place in the world:
Favorite movie or book of all time:
Debt of Honor by Tom Clancy
One word that best describes me:
When I’m not working, you’ll catch me doing this:
Hiking or Golfing
The State of California aims to move into Stage 2 of the state’s reopening plan by the end of this week (May 8), allowing the return of retail, manufacturing and other “low-risk businesses.” New physical distancing measures should be followed and implemented in order for these businesses to reopen. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued updated guidance for healthcare providers previously restricted from providing non-essential healthcare to reopen and […]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) released guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools and homes. Each entity should consider the CDC’s guidance in preparation for re-opening business in California and across the country, which is summarized as follows: Evaluate the workplace to determine what kinds of surfaces and materials are present;Determine which surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water and/or normal routine […]
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently issued clarification on how fund are to be used from Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act 2020 (COVID-19 H8C) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES H8D). Background As noted in GHJ’s earlier blogs, on March 24, 2020, HSRA announced the relates of $100 million in fiscal year 2020 funding provided by COVID-19 H8C. On April 8, 2020, HRSA announced the release of more than $1.3 […]
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In addition to the Paycheck Protection Program and other provisions of the CARES Act, many companies can potentially look to their commercial insurance policies for recovery from the damaging impacts of COVID-19. Business Interruption Insurance is often the first place a company looks to in times like these for recovery. However, as Business Interruption Coverage typically is triggered by some form of first-party property damage, a company may not be covered under that policy for losses related […]
On Friday April 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) began funding the first $30 billion of its $100 billion Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, as authorized by the CARES Act. In terms of what entities will receive this initial funding, HHS has determined that all facilities and providers who received Medicare Fee-For-Service (“FFS”) reimbursements in 2019 will be eligible to receive a pro rata share of the $30 billion allocation. In an effort to […]
According to Section 1106 of the CARES Act, a portion of the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) loans can be forgiven on a tax-free basis based on the extent of certain covered expenses (i.e., payroll, rent obligations, utility payments and mortgage interest) incurred during the eight-week period following funding of the PPP loan. Amounts forgiven may not exceed the principal amount of the loan. Amounts forgiven will be lowered for: A proportional reduction in employees retained during this […]
Green Hasson Janks (GHJ) assists attorneys, including outside/inside counsel, business leaders and business owners, with a wide range of litigation support services. The firm provides financial insight and clarity during all stages of a business dispute, from pre-litigation services case development and discovery to expert witness testimony and conflict resolution. The below case study takes an in-depth look at recent work with a client going through litigation and highlights the need for […]
On July 26, 2018, Green Hasson Janks’ (GHJ’s) Motion Picture and Television Participations Services team hosted the second edition of its 2018-2019 Happy Hour series, with the goal of connecting Entertainment Industry professionals with one another in a casual setting. During this event, Ben Sheppard, GHJ principal, held a Q&A session with Tom Ara, partner at Greenberg Traurig, who has deep experience with the Chinese film industry as well as independent films. Tom also serves as the chief […]
excerpt from our 2017 Entertainment Whitepaper: The Evolution of Profit Participations / Navigating Disruption in the Motion Picture and Television Industry Jennifer Sullivan, Senior Marketing Manager at Green Hasson Janks sits down with Ben Sheppard to discuss the role of litigation in today's Entertainment Landscape. SULLIVAN: What does the term “expert witness” mean for the entertainment sector? SHEPPARD: The expert witness concept is about bringing actual industry experience and knowledge […]
As a Houston native, the recent tragedies brought on by Hurricane Harvey are very personal to me. While I think about the devastation my friends and family are going through in Southeast Texas, I am aware that an important part of the healing process is recovery. Once everyone is safe they will need to get back to work, if at all possible. Companies, as well as individuals, will move into the recovery phase. With all of this on my mind, it seemed like the right time to share critical […]