Forensic accounting uses state-of-the-art scientific methods to solve legal accounting problems. The forensic accountant is a highly trained professional with knowledge pertaining specifically to matters related to property crimes.
A forensic accountant can help with problems related to fraud; with civil disputes, and in marital or family law cases.
How forensic accounting can help companies
If a company suspects fraud and misuse of funds, a forensic accountant can investigate the problem. Their presence and activity can also help in preventing and deterring such crimes and mismanagement.
The forensic accountant will analyze the business structure of the company and search records for possible fraud and misconduct. They will trace all assets looking for irregularities and other clues. Companies benefit from use of a forensic auditor because of their special training and experience in rooting out possible criminal actions. Their efficiency in these matters saves companies time, energy and money. The forensic accountant also has expertise in planning and implementing strategies to prevent fraud or misuse of funds in the future.
Civil disputes and forensic accounting
Forensic accountants help resolve accounting problems in civil disputes including:
• Tort or contract related damages and losses
• Breach of contract
• Compensation and business interruption claims
• Personal injury claims
• Company acquisition claims
• Warranty claims
• Business and share valuation
• Professional negligence claims
Auditors work both in calculating and solving accountancy problems and testifying in court.
Marital and family disputes
The forensic accountant helps during divorce cases by resolving issues on the division of assets. In many cases the division of property is complex.
There may be issues of pre-nuptial agreements, alimony and child support disputes, and hidden assets. The forensic accountant is especially important when one or both spouses are self-employed. In such cases, an auditor is often necessary to trace all possible assets of the parties involved. Whenever there is a dispute over income, assets, business valuation, or other property valuations, a forensic accountant can help in finding a solution.
In probate cases, forensic accountants can again help in disputes arising over valuation and property division among an estate’s heirs. If the deceased owned one or more businesses, for example, assigning a value to these businesses can be difficult without a legal expert.
Advantages of forensic accountants
As professionals, the forensic accountant is considered an expert in cases of legal property disputes. They bring to bear all the latest knowledge in accountancy and auditing standards, business and financial reporting systems, and evidence gathering, interviewing and discovery methods. They are trained at testifying in court and are familiar with legal procedures and requirements.
Forensic accounting is necessary whenever there is some accountancy problem that must be resolved legally, but is either too difficult or too costly to be handled without professional help. Without proper knowledge of the law, and forensic accounting techniques, failure in these cases is a distinct possibility. Courts are very strict in procedural matters and only accept high standards for evidence – areas best suited for experienced professionals.