Definition

There are many definitions of forensic accounting, sometimes called financial forensics, but whatever it is called in essence it amount to:

"The use of accounting and investigative skills to verify and analyse financial data and information in order to persuasively support or counter an opinion or argument."

Forensic accounting is completely separate from preparing a set of year end or management accounts which is what accountants do most of the time.

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Forensic accounting work is carried out by suitably qualified accountants who have experience in investigations and who are familiar with existing laws, regulatory regimes, information technology, and any relevant current developments.

The work involves verifying facts and data, analysing information, making comparisons, and giving reasoned opinions based on findings. The data and information examined and analysed will be gathered from within the organisation, and from outside. Examples of outside information are industry specific statistical data, published government data, information relating to competitors, or third party information supplied.

Forensic accounting work will be carried out based on clearly established accounting, investigative and statistical techniques which will be common to most forensic accounting assignments. This is the science in forensic accounting.

However, aside from “the science”, forensic accounting also requires critical probing and analysis based on past experience and assessment of the situation not just in relation to the historic events, but possibly also in relation to the future as well. This, some would say, is the art in forensic accounting.

Each forensic accounting assignment is unique, and is part science, and part art.

Forensic accounting work is carried out by suitably qualified accountants who have experience in investigations and who are familiar with existing laws, regulatory regimes, information technology, and any relevant current developments.

The work involves verifying facts and data, analysing information, making comparisons, and giving reasoned opinions based on findings. The data and information examined and analysed will be gathered from within the organisation, and from outside. Examples of outside information are industry specific statistical data, published government data, information relating to competitors, or third party information supplied.

Forensic accounting work will be carried out based on clearly established accounting, investigative and statistical techniques which will be common to most forensic accounting assignments. This is the science in forensic accounting.

However, aside from “the science”, forensic accounting also requires critical probing and analysis based on past experience and assessment of the situation not just in relation to the historic events, but possibly also in relation to the future as well. This, some would say, is the art in forensic accounting.

Each forensic accounting assignment is unique, and is part science, and part art.

It is a common misconception that forensic accountants produce realms and realms of financial reports.

Of course “the numbers” form the basis of our work, but what is critically important at the end of the day, is an interpretation as to what those numbers actually mean and an opinion.

The written word is as important as the numbers that back it up.