Due to the reality shows that are plaguing the television airwaves, the word “forensic” might cause one to think about DNA evidence and fingerprints, but forensic accounting has nothing to do with either of these.
While some may think that “forensics” is an exciting field, it has nothing to do with solving violent crimes. Instead, forensic accountants – also called fraud investigators or investigative accounts – solve crimes involving properties, typically fraud. These special accountants provide legal expertise and testimony in trials as well.
These forensic accountants do more than sit at a desk and hide behind their adding machines. Due to the specialty of the service they provide, they possess an additional set of skills that help them conduct investigations to solve crimes of fraudulent activities – particularly in areas more susceptible to fraud such as insurance and banking.
Forensic accountants have to be thorough and must be very familiar with the industries they work in, including best business practices that are associated with their specialties. The lives and reputations of all involved with a fraud case are at stake and the information that these accountants provide must be accurate and discretion on the part of the accountant is a must.
Although their investigations have nothing to do with fingerprints or blood splatter, forensic accountants follow a very specific routine when conducting their investigations, regardless of the industry they are investigating. They may meet first with a representative from the government, attorneys or directly with a client in order to get the specific information on any suspected fraud.
Once the information is gathered, the forensic accountant will begin his or her analysis.
They will look for suspicious signs of fraud including new cars, many vacations and even starting other businesses without any visible signs of business capital. They will further investigate a company’s assets, company losses and other transactions before their investigation is completed.
Forensic accountants, once they have completed their analysis of the company experiencing fraud, will often be called upon to provide support in trial proceedings as well, typically by providing further explanation of documents and other evidence.
If you have an investigative nature and a love of number crunching, forensic accounting can be a rewarding career with any number of companies and industries.