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Forensic Accounting In Practice
Herbert Lee |
Bus 508
Professor Badger Fardanesh 1. May 16, 2013

Forensic Accounting Defined According to Crumbley (2009)“ Forensic Accounting” is reducing the complexity of accounting practices by distilling information and slicing away at deceptions to help a judge or jury to see the essence of financial disputes. It is a practice that goes beyond auditing and analyzing accounting information. With accounting practice and standards at its core Forensic accounting goes above and beyond what the auditor does. Crumbley (2009) contends that a forensic accountant may take on fraud auditing engagements but will use other accounting, consulting and legal skills to broaden their engagements. The discipline of forensic accounting is being utilized not only in a courtroom setting but also in public discussions, debates, civil matters like divorces, insurance companies, banks and the business community at large. From a general perspective forensic accounting focuses on digging into the final accounts but will follow a lead into records of original entries. These accountants cover the areas of litigation support and investigative accounting. They are seeking out the cause and effect and according to the article FTB Tax Services (2011) it states that the primary orientation of forensic accounting is the explanatory analysis of phenomena- including possibly the discovery of deception, and its effect- introduced into an accounting system domain. The article further pointed out that the primary methodology employed by forensic accountants is objective verification. One can reasonably agree that forensic accounting engagements venture beyond the mere accuracy of numbers but rather detecting what flaw that might exist in the picture as a whole. According to Joshi (2004) the term “Forensic Accountant” was coined by Maurice E. Peloubet in 1946 although his concept of the discipline did not include all of the characteristics of forensic accounting. Since then thediscipline has developed to be a discipline judges, lawyers, businesses and other interests depend on to unravel and explain rather complex circumstances.
Skills of Forensic Accountant
One obvious skill a forensic accountant needs to have is an acquired knowledge base skill especially in business, accounting and economics. Forensic accountant are regularly employed to discover fraud or the prevention of an attempt at fraudulent activities there is the need for an investigative skill.Once the forensic accountant begins to collect facts using his or her investigative skill the analytical skill become important because these facts need interpretation so that almost any individual can comprehend. With the ever changing technological development being a part of today’s life technological expertise is a necessary skill for the forensic accountant. The article “Skills and Responsibilities of a Forensic Accountant (2013) points out that in addition to communications skills it is required that forensic accountant be accurate, diplomatic, detail oriented, attentive and observant. A forensic accountant will definitely benefit from his or her detective capabilities. So far knowledge skills, investigative skills, diplomatic skills, communication skills and analytical skills are among some of the more important skills needed by the forensic accountant. However, to complement his or her task the forensic accountant must show a deep understanding of forensic accounting and its relatedness to many other disciplines.Knowledge helps because the forensic accountant will be acquainted with the terrain in which he or she has to navigate and can develop guidelines when conducting various research. To be able to effectively communicate is to ensure that message is transmitted in such a way as to solicit the right response which is important in interviews and court room presentation. It is so important that the forensic accountant be able to ask the right questions, detect a particular trend, pick upon a lead that is not so obvious and be very open and fair minded not having any preconceived stereo-typical notions. Crumbley (2009) made reference to Ronald D. Durkin who suggested that the following are differences between forensic audit and traditional audit * Not limiting the scope of engagement based upon materiality. * Not accepting sampling as evidence. * Not assuming that management has integrity. * Seeking the best legal evidence. * Melding the requirements of the evidential matter standard with the rules of evidence.
These differences one could argue depict the forensic accountant the individual who takes nothing for granted. Role in the Court Room In a courtroom setting the forensic accountant is going to use his knowledge, investigative, detective, and analytical and communication skills among others to interpret sometimes complex issues so that judges, lawyers, plaintiff, and defendants can comprehend. In the courtroom the forensic accountant become engaged in activities that get beneath the mere numbers on the page and become involved in transaction reconstruction, measurements in terms of ratios and other analytical tools, bankruptcy, divorces, asset identifications, valuation of assets, manipulated or falsified accounts, deceptive presentation of numbers in final accounts and other business or environmental trends. In the courtroom setting the forensic accountant is able to communicate in various forms. Such a person can produce reports from their findings, exhibits and documentary evidences. Being familiar with legal procedures and concepts the forensic accountant is an excellent expert witness in court assisting those involved to have the correct perspective of a particular problem. It can be argued that with his skills the forensic accountant illuminate an otherwise dark environment causing almost everyone to see clearly. Zysman (2005) points to a number of interests in which the forensic accountant is of great importance in the courtroom- including fraud detection, business economic losses, insurance claims, family matters, terrorism and counter-intelligence and computer soft ware. However, Zysman contended that after completing his investigation the forensic accountant is required to present his finding clearly in court aiding the court to determine guilt or innocence. One is in agreement with Allen (2011) who indicated that forensics involves a pretty wide range of responsibilities. Many companies are increasingly seeing the need to secure the services of the forensic accountant. They can serve in the capacity of preventing fraud or detecting errors or irregularities.
Legal Responsibility to Business The forensic accountant very often assists companies to ensure that their complex transactions are done legally. It has been pointed out by Allen (2011) that among the first thing any forensic accounting is to look into accounts for errors or irregularities. Allen (2011) further suggested that identifying irregularities is a first step whether one is investigating a corner store, a multinational company or a government organization. In the case of fraud, embezzlement or money laundering, the forensic accountant needs to calculate the extent of financial damages for settlement or litigation. Companies might see the necessity of having the forensic accountant present at the table during times of negotiations, attend trials explaining complex accounting concepts and jargons and even designing relevant computer programs thus helping in the analysis and interpretation of accounting data. The following cases underscore the importance of the forensic accountant. In 1966 a city manager in California’s Contra Costa County became suspicious when a local disposal service company asked for help keeping itself afloat. That suspicion eventually led to the discovery of checks being sent to non-existing individuals and companies. It was the hiring of a forensic accountant who uncover the truth exposing the illegal siphoning off of money from one company to another. The effect was an inflation of cost thus a rate increase. The company owner was found guilty. Enron is another company was found guilty of cooking the books. The cooking of the books represented a false company performance. Consequently Enron’s share value was unrealistic and not a proof of the company’s tangible performance. Freeman (1997) pointed out that the practice of “bill and fold” had resulted in a manipulation of the numbers. What was recorded as sales was inventory still sitting in the company’s warehouse. The stated profit was false. Forensic accounting helped in slicing away layers of deceptions resulting not only in imprisonments, firings and fines but also in investors understanding what so going on. Investors and others were armed with knowledge and were able to seek justice in the form of law suits.
Conclusion
Although forensic accounting is a relatively new discipline it is becoming a very important tool serving business interests internally and externally. Allen (2011) contended that forensic accountant are being employed by companies just to ensure that their accounts are in order and are complying with all the laws. The rapid technological development of today business environment is dictating the need for forensic accounting to be an integral part of educational institutions curricula. This discipline should be more than just a line in a text book. Especially when criminal activities are involved -accurate reporting of facts and an unbiased approach – are elements necessary to arrive at the decisions in the courtroom. Hopefully, many individuals will begin to appreciate the importance of forensic accounting and some will even pursue a career in this field.

References
Allen W.(2011) Responsibilities of Forensic Accounting Job. http://accountinghelponline.com/responsibilities-of-a-forensic-accounting-job Posted April 15, 2011, visited 05/16/2013 Crumbley D,L. (2009) So What is Forensic Accounting? www.bus.lsu.edu/accounting/faculty/lcrumbley/abo_fa2009.html accessed November 8,2010 visited May 15, 2013 Freeman S.( 2013) How Forensic Accounting Works- Forensic Accounting Cases http://science.howstuffworks.com/forensic-accounting2.htm. visited May 16, 2013 Joshi CA M. (2004-06) India Forensic. What is Forensic Accounting? www.indiaforensic.com/definition.htm
FTB Tax Services Tax Resolution Experts 888-829-4391(2011)http://www.ftbtax Services.com/forensic-accounting/
Zigmans A. (n.d.)Forensic Accounting.Copyright(2005-2013).http//forensicscience Central.co.uk/accounting.shtml

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