When a business suspects that fraud has been committed in any number of ways, there are multiple avenues which can be taken to prove such a claim. One of those ways is by utilizing the services of a forensic accountant.
Defined as a combination of investigative skills, traditional accounting, and compiling evidence, forensic accounting far exceeds the boundaries of a standard accountant. He or she is expected to take a very in-depth look into not only the financial records of a company or individual involved, but also the history. To spot patterns and unusual transactions are what forensic accountants are highly trained to do. Then, once all investigations are complete, he or she must be able to compile those findings into a concise presentation that will be presented in a courtroom as viable evidence.
Fraud can occur in multiple ways within business operations. It may be committed by the company itself, or by an employee or vendor of the company. A forensic accountant will use three main methods to investigate. They are data mining, document review, and interviews of anyone who may be involved or have useful information. In large fraud cases, these processes can be extensive, sometimes taking months to complete.
Finally, it should be noted that a forensic accountant always maintains a neutral position in any case. It is his or her sole duty to investigate and report the findings in a clear, concise manner for a courtroom presentation that will assist a Judge and jury in reaching an informed verdict.