What is Forensic Accounting?
Forensic accounting is a subset of business accounting. Like business accounting, forensic accounting involves the examination of business records to understand and support the validity of the financial statements.
The purpose of forensic accounting is to determine the validity of financial statements and the accuracy of accounting entries. Forensic accounting is used to investigate situations during the financial statement preparation and reporting process, such as financial fraud.
In short words, forensic accounting refers to a strategic approach whereby financial data and non-financial information are gathered, monitored, studied and analysed for fraud prevention. While the standard accountant focuses on balancing books and maintaining records, the forensic accountant intensively investigates financial activity for evidence of misconduct.
Following are some of its great benefits:
Forensic accountants play a crucial role in examining and investigating current financial processes and standards, which can help identify more effective and efficient solutions. The whole process is one of detecting problems and areas of improvement for the benefit of the business.
Aids Businesses in Managing Finances
Businesses can use forensic accounting to detect anomalies among their staff and the third parties they’re working with. For instance, a company can ask a forensic accountant to check an employee’s purchasing records to see if all of his purchases were for business use or if he diverted some for his personal use.
The primary benefit of forensic solid accounting is how it can minimise and prevent unnecessary loss. Fraudulent activity and general financial discrepancies cost the business community extraordinary sums of money every hour of every day. The forensic accountant ensures this isn’t allowed to happen.
Reduces Risk of Exploitation
By proactively patching any obvious ‘gaps’ in current financial, operational standards, the forensic accountant can ensure that the risk of future exploitation is significantly reduced. It’s a case of protecting the best interests of the business before fraudulent activity can take place.
Enhanced Authority and Better Brand Reputation
A brand that leaves itself wide open to manipulation and fraud is a brand that is very difficult to respect, trust and work with. Fraud can do the kind of reputational damage that is borderline impossible to repair. Therefore, the importance of thorough and ongoing forensic accountancy cannot be denied.
Helps in Avoiding Legal Issues
Dealing with fraud (internal or external) can be spectacularly disruptive and costly for the business. In an ideal situation, forensic accountancy can be used to avoid such scenarios from ever occurring by both preventing fraudulent activity and nipping any problems detected in the bud.
Can be Used to Monitor Professionals
Forensic accounting can be used to assess the work of professionals, including accountants themselves. The findings from this assessment, in turn, can be used to file professional negligence claims against those who have been proven to have made critical errors (whether intentionally or not).
As can be seen above, forensic accounting can undoubtedly prove to be rather beneficial for any business. If you haven’t thought about it yet or were uncertain about it, now you can be sure that it would certainly give you great results.
How do financial institutions use forensic accounting?
The financial accounting industry employs two types of organizations, financial institutions and non-institutional accountants, to assist in financial reporting and accounting. The main function of the financial accounting services industry is the issuance of financial statements for the purpose of informing the public and investors about the financial health of the entity for which the financial statements are being prepared.
A second purpose is to assist financial institutions in evaluating their operations and the validity of the financial statements being issued.
Forensic accounting is the application of accounting principles, procedures and methods to a given set of facts. The purpose of this exercise is to provide accurate, reliable and useful information for the legal or regulatory community as well as the accounting profession in general.