Stephen R. Burns
View in PDF
Steve is an Affiliate of Credibility International and a Managing Member of Natoma Partners, LLC. Steve has almost 25 years of accounting and consulting experience. He specializes in complex, data intensive forensic accounting issues. Most recently, Steve has been involved in several multi-billion dollar tax disputes between large multinational corporations and the Internal Revenue Service. Prior to that, Steve was involved in a major restatement project at a large U.S. truck manufacturer. He has also worked on a number of high profile bankruptcy cases, where he led teams of consultants that assisted clients in the reconciliation of the creditor’s claims to the books and schedules and the analysis of the executory contracts.
Prior to founding Natoma Partners, Steve was a managing director at Huron Consulting Group where he most recently focused on disputes, investigations and other forensic accounting projects. Prior joining to Huron, Steve served as principle in Arthur Andersen’s litigation information services practice.
Steve has testified or submitted expert testimony in the following matters:
- In an arbitration proceeding, provided deposition and hearing testimony with regards to the damages calculations made on behalf of the plaintiff in a dispute over the termination of an exclusive equipment distributorship agreement.
- Submitted an affidavit in United States Federal Court, Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division, for defendants in opposition to the certification of class action status. In Re: Agricultural Chemicals Antitrust Litigation, Master File No. 94-40216 (MMP)
Disputes, Investigations and Other Projects
Steve has worked on a wide range of litigation consulting engagements dealing with business disputes across a number of industries. Steve specializes in high value situations and events involving large volumes of data and complex accounting issues. The following are examples of Steve’s disputes and other experience:
- Assisted a large medical products manufacturer in a dispute with the IRS regarding the IRS’s assertion that the company’s international transfer pricing policies resulted in insufficient income being recorded in the United States.
- Assisted a large multinational medical products supply company in a dispute with the IRS regarding the IRS’s assertion that the company’s international transfer pricing policies resulted in insufficient income being recorded in the United States.
- Assisted the US Subsidiary of a large foreign based multinational pharmaceutical manufacturer in a dispute with the IRS regarding the IRS’s assertion that intercompany debt incurred by the US entity in the financing of a multi-billion dollar transaction should have been characterized as equity, rather than debt. The case settled prior to trial.
- Managed a team of as many as ten consultants in assisting one of the world’s largest food manufacturers in a valuation dispute under Section 338 of the Internal Revenue Code. The dispute involved the valuation of various intangible assets including goodwill, proprietary technology, assembled workforce and several of the world’s best known trademarks.
- Assisted one of the world’s largest food manufacturers in a Section 482 transfer pricing dispute involving the licensing of some of the world’s most well recognized trademarks. Analyzed company-wide profitability, divisional profitability and specific product line profitability over an eight year time span.
- Assisted a large multi-national manufacturer of semiconductors in a Section 482 transfer pricing dispute involving both inbound and outbound transaction between the U.S. parent and its Asian subsidiaries
- Assisted a Fortune 500 manufacturer of electrical devices in connection with Section 1059A issues alleged by the IRS. Prepared product line sales and profitability analyses of both foreign and domestic subsidiaries.
- Assisted client in investigation of a large fidelity loss of high value inventory at a German factory. Prepared the resulting insurance claim and participated in negotiations with the insurer.
- Assisted a client in an antitrust dispute, where on behalf of defendants, utilized detailed sales and accounting data to prepare various analyses to support expert economic opinions regarding market definition, market power and barriers to entry. Specific analyses prepared include profitability analyses, penetration analyses, customer turnover analyses, and demographic market segmentation analyses.
- Assisted a multi-billion dollar chemical distribution company in its defense against claims that it participated in a non-price vertical restraint agreement. Analyzed detailed customer transactions, as well as companywide and product line profitability.
- Assisted a large patent law firm in multi-million dollar patent infringement case. Developed a lost profits study through the use of a statistical analysis and a detailed financial accounting analysis.
- Led a team that provided consulting services to a rail freight carrier with regard to a dispute over transaction rates and billing practices. The work included the verification, analysis, and revaluation of millions of transactions spanning a 12-year period.
- Prepared claims and counterclaims in a case involving the termination of a distributor of medical implant devices. Developed alternative damage theories based on the facts and circumstances surrounding this case.
- On behalf of the plaintiff, prepared a calculation of damages resulting from the wrongful termination of an exclusive equipment distributorship agreement. Provided deposition and hearing testimony with regards to the damages calculation.
- Led a team of up to 25 people that assisted a large U.S. truck manufacturer in the course of an accounting restatement. The work included reconstructing and documenting its accounting for fixed assets for a six year period. This work spanned over 10 manufacturing locations with over $2 billion in fixed assets. The scope of the work covered all aspects of fixed assets accounting, including in-service dates, capitalized interest, book and tax depreciation expense, retirements, account reconciliations to sub ledgers and account roll forwards.
- Led a team that investigated a series of accounting improprieties at a Midwest manufacturing location of a large U.S. truck manufacturer. The accounting improprieties involved a series to transactions spanning four years.
- Led a team of consultants that assisted an electric and gas utility in properly recording a multi-year backlog of fixed asset transactions. Project included unitizing and recording a large volume of fixed asset additions and identifying and recording a large volume of fixed asset retirements.
Restructuring and Turnaround
Steve worked on a number of large, high profile bankruptcy cases where teams of consultants assisted clients in the preparation of the required schedules, the reconciliation of the creditors’ claims to the books and schedules and the analysis of the executory contracts. The following are examples of Steve’s bankruptcy related experience:
- In the Northwest Airlines, Inc. bankruptcy proceeding, led a team of up to six people that assisted the company and its attorneys with the preparation of financial information required for the various stages of bankruptcy, including first day orders, schedules of assets and liabilities and statements of financial affairs.
- In the Worldcom, Inc. bankruptcy proceeding, led a team of up to 15 people that assisted the company in reconciling and resolving more than 38,000 bankruptcy claims filed against 220 debtor companies. Also provided various consulting services, including developing processes for paying claims and assisting in various due diligence projects as they related to the bankruptcy claims.
- In the Global Crossing, Ltd. bankruptcy proceeding, led a team that assisted the telecommunications company in reconciling and resolving more than 11,000 bankruptcy claims filed against 80 debtor companies. Also, led a team that coordinated the company’s process of analyzing and assuming or rejecting more than 300,000 executory contracts.
- Lead project manager for the delivery of claims administration, accounting, financial, and data analysis to a large bankrupt building materials manufacturer and 17 related debtor entities in support of the bankruptcy claims process. Project involved all aspects of processing the claims, including receiving, organizing, logging and reviewing proof-of-loss forms for all claimants.
- In the Carter Hawley Hale Stores (“CHH”) bankruptcy, assisted Zell/Chilmark Fund in its acquisition of unsecured claims against CHH. Project involved supervising over 20 people in a bankruptcy claims management project that required validation of several thousand bankruptcy claims and supporting documentation with a total value exceeding $185 million. Project eventually lead to the Zell/Chilmark Fund gaining control of CHH through the bankruptcy process.
- Performed audits primarily focused upon services and utilities.
Education and professional certifications
- Masters of Business Administration, University of Chicago 1986
- Bachelor of Science Accounting, University of Akron 1984
- Certified Public Accountant, licensed in Illinois
- Certified Financial Forensics 2010