In the fall-out from the past few years’ financial debacle, there has been no shortage of work for Forensic Accountants. From the Bernie Madoff scheme to Lehman Brothers and all the financial scams in between, Forensic Accountants have been called upon to apply the concept of accounting to help lawyers adjudicate and resolve the resulting legal problems.
The Accountant’s Handbook of Fraud & Commercial Crime offers a definition which has been informally accepted by many Forensic Accounting Experts. The definition is as follows:
“Forensic and investigative accounting is the application of financial skills and an investigative mentality to unresolved issues, conducted within the context of the rules of evidence. As a discipline, it encompasses financial expertise, fraud knowledge, and a strong knowledge and understanding of business reality and the working of the legal system. Its development has been primarily achieved through on-the-job training, as well as experience with investigating officers and legal counsel.”
Forensic Accountants apply their knowledge to many different financial transactions such as
A Forensic Accountant’s area of expertise is not limited to financial crimes and fraud. They apply their knowledge to civil matters as well. Their services are useful for breach of contract, business valuations and marital / family law.
Considering the amount of financial litigation out there today, whether it be civil or criminal, the Forensic Accountant’s docket is most likely as full as the courts in which they testify.