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Nature of Work

Certified Forensic accountants utilizes accounting, auditing and investigative skills when conducting an investigation. Equally critical is their ability to respond immediately and to communicate financial information clearly and concisely in a courtroom setting. Forensic accountants are trained to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business reality of the situation.

Forensic accountants are multi-disciplinary and have a wide range of experience in the forensic and investigative field. They are frequently called upon to serve as expert witnesses and litigation consultants.

As forensic accountants you may be working in areas such as:

  1. Investigations, both criminal and civil;
  2. Preparation and review of evidence;
  3. Preparation of expert reports;
  4. Affidavits and proof of evidence;
  5. giving oral evidence in court;
  6. Expert determination, arbitration, mediation or alternative;
  7. Dispute resolution;
  8. Insolvency support investigation; and fraud prevention and awareness strategies. and etc

Qualified forensic accountants are able to provide attorneys with a variety of approaches to successfully resolve claims and disputes. From early stage advisor to expert witness, forensic accountants give knowledgeable advice throughout the commercial or regulatory litigation process in an effort to ascertain and develop key financial data.

They can provide expert witness testimony supported by effective analysis, trial support by analysing materials and developing approaches to support the direct and/or cross examination process and comprehensive support for settlement scenarios.

 

So what does it take to become a forensic accountant? Apart from a need for the same basic accounting skills that it takes to become a good auditor, to be a forensic accountant you need to have the ability to:

  1. pay attention to the smallest detail;
  2. analyse data thoroughly;
  3. think creatively;
  4. possess common business sense;
  5. be proficient with a computer and; have excellent communication skills;
  6. A “sixth sense” that can be used to reconstruct details of past accounting transactions is also beneficial;
  7. A photographic memory helps when trying to visualise and reconstruct these past events.

A forensic accountant also needs the ability to maintain his composure when detailing these events on the witness stand and should be insensitive to personal attacks on his professional credibility.

One thing forensic accountants learn when conducting fraud investigations is that you can never assume, what appears to be one thing on the first glance often turns out to be quite different when examined closely.
An increasingly complex business environment and the growing tendency for people to take legal action has led to the demand for accountants who understand the legal process, and who can conduct investigations, financial analysis and other accounting or audit procedures at a level acceptable to the courts.

Forensic accountants gather information to form an opinion, which is generally expressed in a report or given as expert evidence in court. Due to the diversity of commercial matters which are brought before the courts, a Forensic Accountant’s work is often far more challenging and interesting than the traditional compliance or statutory reporting work undertaken by many accountants in professional practice.

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