Forensic accounting is the specialty practice area of accounting that describes engagements that result from actual or anticipated disputes or litigation. “Forensic” means “suitable for use in a court of law”, and it is to that standard and potential outcome that forensic accountants generally have to work.
Forensic accounting uses investigative techniques, accounting skills and business skills to aid in the collection and collation of information to be used as evidence in court cases. In practical terms it encompasses financial expertise, a strong understanding of business reality and the workings of the legal system.
For example our forensic accounting work may include:
- Reviewing the factual situation.
- Providing assistance in order to obtain documentation and information necessary to support or refute a claim.
- Reviewing the relevant documentation and information to form an initial assessment of the case and identify an area/s of loss.
- Providing assistance with examination for discovery, including the formulation of questions to be asked regarding the financial evidence.
- Co-ordination with other experts in the matter.
- Reviewing the opposing expert’s report and reporting on both the strengths and weaknesses of the positions taken.
- Providing attendance at trial while hearing the testimony of the opposing expert and also providing assistance with the cross-examination.
We do not undertake traditional audit work of verifying the accounts of an organisation. Auditing is different to forensic accounting and just as forensic accountants should not undertake external audit roles, we believe that auditors do not have the specialist skills to undertake forensic accounting work.
Warfield & Associates specialises in investigations and is are often involved in recovering proceeds of crime and in relation to confiscation proceedings concerning actual or assumed proceeds of crime. An investigation is a search for the truth. We assist clients determine whether criminal matters such as employee theft, identity theft, and insurance fraud have occurred. We also assist with quantifying losses from fraud, theft, breaches of royalty and licensing agreements.
Our work also includes recommending actions that can be taken to minimise future risk of loss.
As forensic accountants, we utilise an understanding of business information and financial reporting systems, accounting procedures, evidence gathering and investigative techniques in order to perform our clients’ work.
We are being engaged in more proactive risk reduction roles by designing and performing procedures as part of forensic reviews and risk assessments and have acted as advisers to audit committees, risk committees and governance committees.
Warfield & Associates can assist your organisation and its legal advisers with our forensic accounting expertise.