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Five Skills a Forensic Accountant Need to Possess

Determine the most important Five Skills that a Forensic Accountant Needs to Possess.

The down slope in the economy has driven a new demand of accountants in the job market. The economy is at all-time low so the government is scrutinizing and penalizing businesses for inappropriate accounting scandals. Recent incidents of fraud have been noted in the media weekly. The new field of accountants has companies like Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom to thank for their new demand. The employees of these companies have plot, planned and manipulated the system. They have used schemes like the Ponzi schemes, embezzlement, false advertising, and Spanish prisoners. Fraud Investigators go beyond just criminal charges in court they are also used in family court. They use their skills when couples are getting a divorce; martial fraud is used when spouses don’t show all their assets. (Marden and Darner, 2006)
The mystic new field forensic accountants are called in to investigate businesses for white collar crimes. Forensic accountant’s job is to investigate business fraud, incorrect financial reporting, and illegal investment schemes. Professionals interested in obtaining a job in forensic accounting have to process the following skills: Effective written/oral communication skills, strategic critical thinking, financial knowledge and background, and leadership skills, professional and ethical behavior. (Wells. 2003) It is important that professionals have these skills in order to meet the growing number of fraud cases in business. They must be well trained in the rules of evidence, financial data, Accounting Information System (AIS) software, as well as be able to convince a judge that they should be viewed as expert in their field.
Effective communication is crucial in any career that someone chooses. However, when considering a career in Forensic accounting it is imperative. Accountants need to be able to communicate effectively and efficiently especially when they write their reports. Investigators who present their evidence in court use their communication skill to convince the jury or the judges that there are credible professionals in the field.
A Forensic Accountant gathers information from numerous of sources to provide insight to the court so they are very tactful and have developed a plan to catch the scammer. The investigators will use their strategic critical thinking skill which is their ability to know the right questions to ask the perpetrator, gather insight on the company’s culture, make a decision on their hypothesis, create and communicate a vision. The accountant should be able to dissect any fraudulent activity by identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that the perpetrator has displayed.
Forensic Accountants have to have intense background in accounting and be very knowledgeable with financial software and systems. The definition of their jobs can be described as the use of accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to assist in legal matters. (Houck et al. 2006). They are trained in areas of investigation, detection and various auditing techniques. Most of them are experience auditors and /or accountants. Harris and Brown (2000) mentions that a forensic accountant should demonstrate skills in rules of evidence and the law, analytical and investigative skills identification of patterns of abuse, excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and outstanding organizational skills.
Fraud investigators have to process leadership qualities when investigating fraud cases. They take authority in difficult and stressful situations. They are able to influence and inspire the people on their team to reach a goal or a final decision on specific cases. Fraud accountants that have the leadership trait are credible, accountable and responsible people. The have to process these above qualities to be consider accountable to the legal system. Practicing professionalism and ethical behavior is also another skill that the investigator has to achieve. Investigators are not only dealing with assets of and enterprise but they also are dealing with the accountability of the perpetrators lives. Investigators have to act objectively with integrity and conscientious. They have to be consistent and able to adapt to change. Uphold a code of ethics and morals that will develop them professionally. The golden rules of any job that deals with money or people’s lives is that they have to practice confidentiality. Fraud investigators should demonstrate self- control, self- confidence, pay attention to details and be able to work independently as- well- as with a team. Investigators must present themselves in an appropriate manner in order to be taking seriously amongst other professionals.
Describe the role of a Forensic accountant within a courtroom Environment.
Fraud investigators role in the courtroom is that they investigate the financial operations of an enterprise and prepare information that may be used in a criminal or civil court case. They must be able to explain their data they received from AIS evidence or other fraud auditing methods. A forensic accountant would have to present information before the judge, jury, and the prosecutor and the States attorney in such a way that is convincing to each constituent. Jordan(2006) indicated that giving evidence in court deals with communicating information to individuals who often have limited experience and/or previous exposure to such testimony. Forensic accountants have to really utilize their skills. Litchaman, (2009) stated that the forensic investigator “ makes the documents speak” often the documents do not tell the whole story and the fraud investigator has to translate what the document means. They have to get creative to make sure that the listener is able to understand the documents they are explaining. Neufer (2000) noted that jurors will more often than not possess a limited understanding of statistical or numerical testimony. This poses a problem for the accountant. The role of the forensic accountant is to act impartial, objective and independent in their decisions. They should communicate clearly with both parties. Fraud auditing or investigative accountancy deals with examining criminal matters. To add to the skills mentioned above, a forensic accountant needs these assets as a part of their personality to be successful professional: curiosity, persistency, creativity, and perception.
Analyze the legal responsibility a forensics accountant has while providing service to a business The worse feeling a person or a business can feel would be loss. A loss, done by someone you have entrusted with your most valuable possession. A business that has suspected fraudulent activities hires a forensic accountant to investigate fraudulent activities. Grants J. (2012) states that it is not easily to define or measure financial loss; that many civil lawsuits arise out of the desire to reclaim what one perceives he or she has unjustly lost.
Fraud Investigators legal responsibility is to confidentially retrieve, and analyze financial records. Examine the claim and verify that the loss that the company has claimed is accurate. They will then write up a discover and present their findings to the plaintiff. The company or individual will then file a complaint with local authorities to bring charges against the perpetrator. Once charges have been brought against the perpetrator the fraud investigator will go to court as a witness and testify in a way that the juror or judges will have a full vision on how the company was schemed out of their resources.
Research two cases where forensics accountants have provided vital evidence in a case. Summarize the cases and the importance of the forensic accountants ‘role during each case.

The most powerful and infamous mob leader of his time, Al “Scarface” Capone was the notorious gangster bombarding the streets of Chicago. During his reign he was able to avoid being prosecuted for his many related gang activities. However, forensic accountants were able to bring Capone down in 1931 with a case of tax evasion. The Internal Revenue Service was able to track all his earnings he made from his gang related activities and nailed him for failing to report them on his taxes.
The forensic accountant’s role in the Al Capone case would bring them recognition and credibility. This case was the grassroots of a new beginning for forensic accountant. Businesses realize that these professionals were well trained and equipped to bust fraudulent cases. (Leventi.) (DUK).
Fraud investigators are on the rise because of the state of the economy. The demand for this position is at an all-time high. Their jobs

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