About Financial Forensics
The field of financial forensics includes: (1) the use of the tools of the criminal investigator and financial auditor to uncover criminal activity involving financial and related assets, (2) the gathering financial evidence for criminal or civil proceedings, (3) evaluating internal controls and assessing fraud risks, and (4) providing oversight for business and government organizations. Financial forensics experts work as police detectives, law enforcement investigators, inspectors general, independent and internal auditors, and independent consultants.
Financial forensics has also become important to the investigation of terrorist organizations. Those who study terrorism are finding that terrorist organizations are financing their activities through economic crimes, racketeering activities, and money laundering. This nexus between terrorism, organized crime and white-collar crime has only recently been recognized. The use of financial forensics has become an essential tool in all investigations of organized crime enterprises, white-collar offenders, and now terrorist organizations.
The field of Forensic Accounting represents one of the fastest growing practice areas in the field of professional accounting. There is a demand for accounting professionals trained in the body of knowledge of forensic accounting including:
- Fraud Investigation & Examination, which involves the process of investigating and detecting financial fraud. Specific areas of fraud include: financial reporting fraud, theft of assets, non-reporting of income, and breach of civil and ethical rules of conduct.
- Business Valuation, which involves the process of establishing a value for non-publicly traded business entities involved in estate and trust administration, marital dissolution proceedings, business litigation, ESOP administration, and dissenting shareholder litigation.
- Valuation of Damages and Lost Profits, which involves the process of measuring income lost or incremental costs incurred as a result of personal injury and wrongful death, wrongful termination, breach of contract, and commercial accidents.
Forensic accounting is the practice of utilizing accounting and investigative skills to assist in legal matters. It encompasses a number of related areas – financial reporting, financial analysis, valuation, litigation support, investigation, and dispute resolution.
Litigation support represents the factual presentation of economic issues related to existing or pending litigation. In this capacity, the forensic accounting professional quantifies damages sustained by parties involved in legal disputes and can assist in resolving disputes, even before they reach the courtroom. If a dispute reaches the courtroom, the forensic accountant may testify as an expert witness. Forensic accountants are trained to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business reality of the situation. Consequently, forensic accountants become involved in a wide range of investigations, spanning many different industries, including the following:
- Financial Statement and Reporting Fraud
- Valuation of Closely Held Businesses
- Criminal Investigations
- Shareholders' and Partnership Disputes
- Personal Injury Claims/Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Business Interruption/Other Types of Insurance Claims
- Business/Employee Fraud Investigations
- Matrimonial Disputes
- Business Economic Losses
- Professional Negligence