They also provide services in areas such as accounting, antitrust, damages, analysis, valuation, and general consulting. Forensic accountants have also been used in divorces, bankruptcy, insurance claims, personal injury claims, fraudulent claims, construction, royalty audits, and tracking terrorism by investigating financial records. Financial investigation and forensic accounting pdf forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials. Forensic accounting or forensic accountancy has been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians when Pharaoh had scribes account for his gold and other assets.
These scribes worked in Pharaoh’s courts and were charged with fraud prevention and detection. Their role stayed much the same until the turn of the 20th century. As an accountant they must have knowledge of the latest accounting standards and procedures, be proficient in many different Financial Reporting Systems being used, and be able to provide recommendations that will strengthen internal controls.
They also need to have an understanding of the different monetary units used internationally due to the different types used in foreign accounts or companies. As an auditor they must perform regular financial audits to prevent possible situations that could lead to fraud.
As an attorney they must know the current Federal and State laws and regulations, and should be able to approve or disprove suspicions of fraud. They may also be called to be an expert witness in a court trial so they must be able to communicate well and at a level that is understandable by individuals without accounting knowledge. Some forensic accountants specialize in forensic analytics which is the procurement and analysis of electronic data to reconstruct, detect, or otherwise support a claim of financial fraud. For example, forensic analytics may be used to review an employee’s purchasing card activity to assess whether any of the purchases were diverted or divertible for personal use.
Forensic analytics might be used to review the invoicing activity for a vendor to identify fictitious vendors, and these techniques might also be used by a franchisor to detect fraudulent or erroneous sales reports by the franchisee. When acting as an expert witness in court proceedings in Federal Court in the United States a forensic accountant is required to give testimony which is based upon sufficient facts or data and is the product of reliable principles and methods, and they are required to have applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case. For a comparison with French practices, see a study of “Forensic Accountants at Work”. Forensic accountants need to have a great deal of access to information regarding the company they are investigating or assisting.