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What is forensic accounting and when is it needed?

Forensic accounting can be defined as a combination of traditional accounting, investigative skills, auditing and compilation of evidence to be used as viable evidence in a court case. A forensic accountant is highly trained to take a very in-depth dive into the financial records and history of a company or individual. He or she will look much further than just the numbers, taking into consideration the nature and scope of the business as well. They will then summarize their findings for a clear, concise presentation to the court.

Forensic accounting may be used in many scenarios. The most common of those are cases that involve fraud. Therefore, these types of accountants are often hired by banks, law enforcement agencies, governmental agencies, or insurance companies just to name a few. In addition to simply preparing the evidence for a case, a forensic accountant may be called on to testify in the courtroom.

There are multiple matters in which a company or individual may attempt to hide assets via an offshore account, fraudulent accounting practices, the formation of dummy corporations, or transfer to another name. These assets must be located and accounted for in cases where a monetary amount must be determined to account for potential losses. Some examples would be a high-asset divorce, employee theft, securities fraud, patent infringement, or construction claims.

In order to effectively prepare the information for presentation in court, a forensic accountant should be knowledgeable of the legislative process including laws, rules, and statutes. This is the reason that forensic accounting requires a higher skill set than a general accountant.

For any situation that could benefit from a complete business evaluation, contacting an experienced attorney who is familiar with forensic accounting can shed light on questions that may otherwise go unanswered.

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