This is the age of technology. You find modernization everywhere. Every company has resorted to automation of their accounting transactions. This has resulted in greater accuracy and speed. Under such circumstances, you would expect error free accounting. However, the computers work on the theory of GIGO (Garbage In-Garbage Out). If you enter erroneous data, it would give out erroneous output. However, you can find unscrupulous people misusing the system to their advantage. It would not be easy for a person with a limited amount of automated accounting to catch such culprits. You need a Forensic Accounting expert to catch such thieves.
Keep pace with the fraudsters
You might have heard of the statement, 'Set a thief to catch a thief'. Of course, the forensic investigator is not a thief. What we mean to imply is that you should start thinking like a thief in order to catch him. Usually, the thief would be a step or two ahead of the investigation agencies. That is why it becomes imperative for the investigation agencies to think and act like a thief does. In that way, they would be able to keep pace with the thieves.
The Duties of the Forensic accounting expert:
The modern day accounting thief would resort to fraud and misappropriation of funds through the modern route. You would need a comprehensive audit to locate the areas of fraud and misappropriation. Since you find fully computerized accounting services today, you would need a forensic audit to find out the culprits involved in the crime.
Go to the root of the crime
The computerized systems would require a log in ID and password for every individual worker. Hence, the person committing the fraud or the misappropriation would require both the ID and the PW of other people as well. This is because every accounting entry requires an authorization of some kind by a senior official. The person accused of fraud should either have access to the ID and PW of others. The forensic accounting expert should be able to trace the source of the crime. That would involve a system known as reverse lookup. The forensic expert should have the ability to investigate backward. In this way, he would be able to reach the source of the crime. This would be of great help in nailing the culprit perfectly.
The Criminals were at one time the best workers
The accounting services today require such a department in every organization. You never know who would be the black sheep. Usually, you find that the biggest and cleverest thieves are those who have extensive knowledge of the systems. They know the systems inside out. However smart they may be, the computer keeps track of every move. The real forensic accounting expert would be able to track the modus operandi of the culprit.
The frauds can occur in any atmosphere. The Financial services industry is the most prone area for frauds, as the criminal can have material gains. You need people with Financial Services Industry Expertise to catch such thieves.
David Mayer is the author of this article on Forensic Accounting .