Forensic Accountant: Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

Most of the characteristics of forensic accountants do not match with the traditional education system, training, or the experience and skills of auditors and accountants. There are some skills, abilities, or knowledge that are necessary to serve as an effective forensic accountant or required by every forensic accountant to perform their tasks:

Forensic Accounting

Ability to discover the frauds with minimum information: Most of the time the investigation of fraud starts with minimal knowledge of the particulars of a prospective fraud. there is some possible manner which is carried out for identifying the fraud, or ‘ some potential effective actions to prove or disprove the potential fraud, a forensic accountant has to capable to recognize this manner or procedures for fraud investigation. ‘ A forensic accountant also needs to be aware of the possible scheme which is related to the fraud investigation procedures.

Interviewing process: During the full course of seeking evidence and information, a forensic accountant has to involve in interview procedures. Interviewing involves many functions, for example, what is the best order in which to interview parties of interest that the forensic accountant must know? There is another important part that the forensic accountant has to prepare to finger out a confession in such a way that the practice ensures the evidence is allowable in a court of law.

Mind-set factors: Mindset is such a factor that ensures the success of a forensic accountant, and this factor could not be easily defined or measured. A successful forensic accountant must have a certain mindset which consists of several abilities. A forensic accountant should have to think like an offender. Because this attribute basically responds to the average auditor who has lived a life with integrity and believes strongly in honesty. A forensic accountant basically has a healthy doubt at all times, which refers that neither fully trusting people nor fully distrusting them, or he or she has a natural tendency to question the substance behind transactions, documents, and testimony written or oral that others do not have. However a forensic accountant should contain the following mind-set factors:

  • Fraud should be recognized or discovered by accident or tip. Methodologies and techniques of financial audit are not really designed to detect fraud but rather designed to detect material financial misstatements, so the forensic accountant has to be able to recognize or discovered the fraud.
  • Fraud detection is considered an art than a science. So the forensic accountant should be skilled in innovative and creative thinking as well as the rigors of science.
  • Forensic accountants have to be determined and self-confident.
  • Logic and problem-solving and detective skills are critical success factors for forensic accountants.

Awareness of evidence: The forensic accountant must understand what comprises of the evidence or the meaning of best™™ and primary™™ evidence, and the form that various accounting summaries can take to strengthen the financial evidence in a way that is acceptable to the courts. It is essential for a forensic accountant to fully understand the rules of evidence in court and also needs to be aware of how to conduct the investigation from the beginning as if all evidence will make it to a court of law. If these rules are overlooked by the forensic accountant, then the evidence could be compromised and found inadmissible if it does get to court.

Presentation of findings: The forensic accountant should have the aptitude to clearly correspond the findings which resulted from the investigation in a fashion understandable to the layperson. The presentation can be either oral or written and also can include the appropriate demonstrative aids. The forensic accountant works as a witness in the final test of the findings in a public forum. For that reason, the forensic accountant must have better communication skills in extracting financial information in a manner that the average citizen can understand, realize, and assess to reach a sound conclusion.

Acquaintance of investigative methods: If the issues have been properly identified, it is very important that further information and documentation be acquired to find further evidence to assist in either supporting the allegation. It also involves an understanding of the existence of the relevant financial documentation and the principles of GAAP, financial statement disclosure, and systems of internal control. Forensic accountants become aware of the human element involved in fraud.

Investigative skills: Forensic accountants generally apply their investigative skills at the appropriate time throughout the course of their investigations. For example, deals with criminal matters. The primary concern of investigative skills is to develop evidence around motive, opportunity, and benefit. Moreover, investigative skills are needed in litigation support as a result these skills are required by the forensic accountant. The forensic accountant has to provide assurance that a proper foundation exists for the calculation of future lost profits and all assumptions integrated into the work product are recognized and identified. Thus a forensic accountant understands his or her limitations as an expert, and the issue of mitigation of damages is considered.

Investigative attitude and mentality: Along with all the accounting knowledge that a forensic accountant contains, a forensic accountant becomes skilled to develop an investigative mentality that permits him or her to go beyond the bounds set out in either GAAP or GAAS. The investigative mentality could best develop in a forensic accountant if a forensic accountant continued experience as a forensic witness. Through this process the eyes of forensic accountants become couscous. The repeated experience of a forensic accountant as a forensic witness creates a greater awareness regarding the relevance and acceptability of the information. And the expert witness can present financial evidence independently and objectively to reflect the reality of the situation.

Recognition of financial issues: If forensic accountants are presented with a situation generated by a complaint, allegation, rumor, inquiry, or statement of claim, then it is important that they can evidently recognize the financial issues significant to the matter quickly. Forensic accountants made their decisions based on experience and knowledge, and any resulting recommendations must reflect both common sense and business reality. It is odd for a transaction or a series of events to have only one interpretation. The forensic accountant must be particularly conscious of a natural bias that could exist in the interpretation process. transactions should be viewed from all aspects to ensure that the final interpretation of the available information fits with common sense and the test of business reality. If one has looked behind and beyond the transaction in question without any scope limitations then a proper interpretation of information can be assured. A forensic accountant who is referred to as an expert witness must be conscious of alternative accounting or financial formulas, rules, and interpretations

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