Forensic Accounting for Legal Issues

Forensic accounting incorporates the elements of accounting, auditing and investigation for analyzing information that forms the basis of legal discussion, debate, and at times, dispute resolution. Various legal issues, like employee theft, insurance fraud, securities fraud, and such others may require this investigation.
Here are a few of the important questions, and there answers, in this regard.
What are the tasks involved in the proceeding? The chief responsibilities of a professional forensic accountant are as follows –
Investigation and analysis of complex financial evidence and development of computerized applications for it
Preparation of documents (reports, exhibits, etc) for communicating the findings
Assistance in legal proceeding (preparation of visual aids, providing testimonial at court, etc)
Which cases may require such services? Various types of legal issues may require this:
Criminal investigations
Business or other insurance claims
Business or employee fraud investigations
Shareholders or partnership legal disputes
Matrimonial disputes
Who needs such services? Lawyers, government agencies, police forces, courts, banks, insurance companies, businesses and such other entities may need to get forensic accounting investigation.
How does the professional approach the investigation? There are certain steps involved in the procedure. However, the specific details depend on the assignment the professional is handling. Here are the details.
Meeting with the client – is necessary to understand the parties involved in the case, the facts and the issues of dispute.
Assessing conflict of interests – is required to assess whether they are representing two entities with adverse interests.
Performing an initial investigation – is essential to get the foundation of the investigation right.
Developing a plan – based on the initial investigation, this is necessary to assess the objective and the way to attain it.
Getting the relevant evidence – may involve finding documents, individuals, and such other essentials related to the case.
Analyzing the evidence – involves tasks like tracing assets, calculating economic damages, performing sensitivity analysis and so on.
Preparing the report – is necessary to communicate the findings of the investigation along with other details like scope and objective, tools and techniques, and so on.
How do you find such a professional? It is wise to let your lawyer find and appoint such an accountant, as he/she is more aware of reputed and reliable professionals for the task. The key considerations are, however, quite simple – qualification and experience is all that you need to look out for when choosing one for the job.