Forensic Accounting has existed for many years. Also known as “Investigative Accounting”, forensic accounting is a detailed examination and analysis of financial documents and records for use as evidence in a court of law.
Forensic Accounting represents an area of finance that combines detective skills and financial activities. These accountants dig into the financial reports and figure out what really happened.
NEED FOR FORENSIC ACCOUNTING
With the growing use of technology, complexity in the business environment there is an increase in the number of crimes committed in the company which the top level management is unable to detect or unable to prevent, hence the need for Forensic Accountant arise who can not only detect the crime but can also tell the ways to prevent such scams in the future.
Following are some of the reasons because of which FA is required:
1. Growing cyber crimes,
2. Rapid use of Information Technology,
3. Increase in the number of corporate scams,
4. Failure of the regulations to track the scams.
NATURE OF WORK
A Forensic Accountant has a unique job because the responsibility involves the integration of accounting, auditing and an investigation skill, using all of these skills; a Forensic Accountant is in brief a true investigator. A Forensic Accountant takes more proactive and skeptical approach in examining the books of accounts.
Forensic Accountants are often retained by lawyers, banks, police forces, insurance companies, courts etc. to analyze interpret summarize and present the complex financial data in simple and concise form.
CHARACTERISTICS OF A FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT
Following are the characteristics which a Forensic Accountant should possess:
2. Detail oriented
ADVANTAGES OF FORENSIC ACCOUNTING
1. Forensic accounting ensures that accounting policies and systems are followed to the book -- and that any unusual items introduced in such a system are detected.
2. Forensic accounting helps investors in making sound decisions on whether to invest in a business.
3. The data analyzed and its outcome is used in formulating policies in an economy.
4. It involves a thorough analysis of accounting data to arrive at the reality of the issue being investigated -- to ascertain if operational procedures have been adhered to.
5. The information is used for legal reviews or public debates with the aim of resolving disputes.
DISADVANTAGES OF FORENSIC ACCOUNTING
1. It is expensive process, since it involves the use of computer software and skills.
2. Forensic accountants are hired from outside the business to conduct an in-depth analysis of its financial records, thereby exposing its financial dealings to outsider.
3. Forensic accounting involves detection of fraudulent activities and their representation in a court of law. It exposes the forensic accountant to criminal acts like blackmail and threats.
Forensic Accounting is a good career path not only for future CAs but also for CAs working in the industry or practicing.
Forensic Accounting has assumed importance after so many frauds and scandals taking place.
It can be interesting as well as well paid career opportunity.
CONTRIBUTED BY: DEEPIKA AGARWAL (CA FINAL)