- Forensic accounting
Forensic accounting is the specialty practice area of
accountancythat describes engagements that result from actual or anticipated disputes or litigation. "Forensic" means "suitable for use in a court of law", and it is to that standard and potential outcome that forensic accountants generally have to work. Forensic accountants, also referred to as forensic auditors or investigative auditors, often have to give expert evidence at the eventual trial. [cite book
last = Crumbley
first = D. Larry
coauthors = Lester E. Heitger, G. Stevenson Smith
authorlink = D. Larry Crumbley
title = Forensic and Investigative Accounting
date = 2005-08-05
isbn = 0808013653] All of the larger accounting firms, as well as many medium-sized and boutique firms, have specialist forensic accounting departments. Within these groups, there may be further sub-specializations: some forensic accountants may, for example, just specialize in
insuranceclaims, personal injuryclaims, fraud, construction, or royalty audits.
Engagements relating to civil disputes may fall into several categories: calculating and quantifying losses and economic damages, whether suffered through
tortor breach of contract; disagreements relating to company acquisitions—perhaps earn outs or breaches of warranties; and business valuation. Forensic accountants often assist in professional negligenceclaims where they are assessing and commenting on the work of other professionals.
Engagements relating to criminal matters typically arise in the aftermath of fraud. They frequently involve the assessment of accounting systems and accounts presentation—in essence assessing if the numbers reflect reality.
Forensic accountants may be involved in recovering proceeds of crime and in relation to confiscation proceedings concerning actual or assumed proceeds of crime or
money laundering. In the United Kingdom, relevant legislation is contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. In India there is a separate breed of forensic accountants called Certified Forensic Accounting Professionals.
Some forensic accountants are also
Certified Fraud Examiners, Certified Public Accountants, or Chartered Accountants.
Forensic accountants utilize an understanding of
business informationand financial reporting systems, accounting and auditing standards and procedures, evidencegathering and investigative techniques, and litigation processes and procedures to perform their work. Forensic accountants are also increasingly playing more proactive risk reduction roles by designing and performing extended procedures as part of the statutory audit, acting as advisers to audit committees, fraud deterrenceengagements, and assisting in investment analyst research.
As forensic accounting occasionally falls within the scope of private investigation, some states require specialized certifications and licenses to work within the field.Fact|date=May 2008 But in most cases, accountants can perform forensic audits without a private investigator license.
Journal of Forensic Accounting
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