FORENSIC ACCOUNTING IN PRACTICE
DR. MARGARET BUCKMAN
18TH AUGUST 2013
The most important five skills that a forensic accountant needs to possess and the need for each skill.
Forensic accountants are a breed of accountants who play a role of accountants, auditors and investigators of possible fraudulent cases in a company. Forensic accountants work towards looking into the financial statements of the company and helping them prevent fraudulent cases by straightening their accounts. They work in the investigations and at times appear in the court as a witness in the fraud cases. Forensic accountants play a vital role in identifying malpractices by the managers in the company. (James, 2010).
A good forensic accountant is not good just because he/she is good in numbers. A forensic accountant should possess the skills of implementing his/her knowledge to its best and find accurate results, under the GAAP. The five major skills required by a forensic accountants are as follows: (Cited by Davis C., Farrell. R., Ogilby S., American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 2010) 1). Analytical- A forensic accountant needs to possess the analytical skills as they need to analyze an accounting problem or issue to take corrective steps towards resolving it. A forensic accountant can only give solution and be a witness to the financial records if he/she can analyze it correctly. Hence the need to be analytical in a forensic accounting engagement is the initial and the most important overall skill without which other skills will not develop. 2). Inquisitive- An accountant should always enjoy complicated puzzles and brain teasers. This helps in ensuring that there is vast interest in solving crimes and finding the truth. A forensic accountant should be intrinsically motivated to find challenging cases and work towards solving them. This skill of a forensic accountant helps in promoting efficiency as the accountant is doing this duty not just for money but because he is interested in it. 3). Ethical & Confident- A forensic accountant has to follow certain ethics to help his profession work with honest and in an unbiased manner. A forensic accountant should possess the skill of abiding by the ethics whatever the situation may arise. Working with confidence brings in enthusiasm and helps to face the situation in a positive manner. With increased knowledge comes improved intuition and hence ethics may sometimes be left behind. To avoid such situation characteristics of having strong ethics and confidence help in the long run. 4). Critical thinker and Detail oriented- A forensic accountant needs to be a critical thinkers. This is because he should have the capability to think in a manner that considers all the extreme possibilities. A critical thinking ability helps to take quick decisions and motivates to end with accurate results. Along with thinking critically it is also very important to value and pay attention to each and every minute details in a case. Smalls mistakes can cost a lot to the shareholders or the company. Hence to get accurate results, it is important to give a detail oriented report as a witness to the findings. 5). Communication- One of the most important skills that a forensic accountant should possess is the communication skills. No matter how analytical, intrinsic, intuitive, persistent the accountant is, if the communications of his interpretations is not clear the efforts put in are simply waste. Hence communication skills play a vital role in the day-to-day activities of a forensic accountant. The interpretations of the case if well communicated only then can help the attorney to win the case.
The role of a forensic accountant within a courtroom environment. Forensic accountants are becoming a core part of businesses every day, sheer due to its increased practicability in the business environment. A practice of forensic accountants helps the...
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