Demand For Forensic Accountants – 6 January 2014
The Financial Times pointed out in an article this month that accounting fraud remains “one of the most critical and prevalent issues facing the financial industry”, and highlighted the need for forensic accountancy in suspected cases and regular forensic auditing to keep on top of complex finances.
Forensic accountants work in financial hubs across the world on a regular basis, either helping prosecutors or defence lawyers to find out what has actually happened in complex financial transactions when what appears to be the case may just be an elaborate smokescreen. This is why forensic accountants' day-to-day work involves fraud investigations, damages assessments, valuations of businesses or ‘unusual’ entities and frequently involves legal proceedings.
These accountants use rigorous investigative techniques to uncover fraudulent activities, money laundering and trace missing assets, increasingly, via the examination of electronic documents. Even police in the City of London have indicated recently that they could do with the help of accountancy investigators in sniffing out fraudulent activity in businesses under their jurisdiction.
Of course, complex financial issues are not necessarily confined to the boardroom. As the recent divorce case involving former property tycoon Scot Young proved, forensic accountants also work extensively in divorce proceedings when a lot of money is at stake. In this case, there certainly was a huge amount uncovered by forensic accountants working for the ex-Mrs Young; they found “sufficient evidence” of £40m in Mr Young’s incredibly complicated web of transactions, made all the more remarkable, as he had been declared bankrupt in 2010.
Without these trained investigators, a huge amount of fraudulent activity could go undiscovered, the reputation of innocent people could be tarnished and people like Mr Young could get away with hiding their assets.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 6 January 2013
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