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Discussing Public Accounting Practices - Forensic Accounting

Written by AnonymousAugust 2, 2011
Forensic Accounting

Forensic Accounting is a specialty within the field of accounting. Forensic accountants have the unique skill combination of the knowledge of accounting and financial matters along with state and local laws and keen investigative skills. Forensic accountants are specialists within accounting who work to confirm the accuracy of stated financial information as provided by an individual or a company. They may be employed by a large, mid-sized, or small local accounting firm. Much of their work involves the investigation of often illegal financial matters known as white-collar crimes, but they may be called in to confirm the truthfulness and integrity of any stated financial information. Common types of illegal activities investigated by forensic accountants include the following:

  • Alleged securities fraud
  • Embezzlement cases
  • Bankruptcies
  • Contract disputes
  • Money laundering

Because they work closely with law enforcement personnel and legal professionals, forensic accountants are also often used as expert witnesses during criminal trials.

Forensic Accounting is divided into two main disciplines:

  • Litigation Support: Represents the factual presentation of financial issues in current or future litigation. The forensic accountant may be asked to quantify damages suffered by parties involved in lawsuits. Forensic accountants may also assist in resolving disputes before a lawsuit reaches a courtroom. After the dispute reaches the courtroom, the forensic accountant may testify as an expert witness.
  • Investigation Services: Assists in determining whether criminal acts have occurred. Criminal acts commonly investigated by forensic accountants include company theft, identity theft, insurance fraud, and securities fraud. Investigation services also may assist in civil disputes such as hidden assets in a divorce case.