Gaurav Gupta is an accountant. But his work has very little to do with closing the monthly balance sheets and P&L or signing the payroll cheques. While typical bean counters hours polishing the financial statements the forensic accountants look beyond the ledgers to furrow out corporate wrong doings. Role of forensic accountant is becoming important with the growing globalisation.
Though it’s a kind of work that takes a special kind of accountant it creates interest in students only if it yields them good salaries and job satisfaction. Various surveys conducted on this topic has revealed that the forensic accountants earn 30% more than their colleagues having no forensic accounting background.
Forensic accounting is the hot career in USA. Many magazines and online newsletters keep on posting these views. But to accept forensic accounting as career one need a lot of guts. One need to dare beyond your routine accounting and auditing work. You need to think beyond numbers. It is really an exciting career.
While financial statement scandals of Xerox,WorldCom have brought forensic accounting into limelight it accounts for only one fifth of total work. Corporate investigations into expense and purchasing frauds is the hot cake followed by the siphoning of funds also being relatively frequent.
Due to the increased sophistication of fraud and the requirement of prior experience in conducting fraud investigations, organizations have begun to realise that it is best for an expert who is independent and unbiased to conduct an investigation.
The overall objectives in a typical investigation are to
- Investigate and determine if the alleged material financial irregularities and/or improprieties have occurred
- Attempt to quantify whether or not any of these alleged financial irregularities resulted in a monetary loss
- Attempt to identify persons who could be responsible for the aforesaid irregularities and/or improprieties
- These kind of services are required by the Banks, Corporates, Regulators such as RBI, SEBI and law enforcement officials.
Fraud Risk Assessment
Operational Risk is an integral part of business. Managing the risk of fraud is a crucial and integral part. The upcoming regulations BASEL-II accord and the Sarbanes Oxley Act are the bi products of Fraud risk. A fraud risk assessment is aimed at creating an environment that frustrates the fraudster. Interaction of the clients with the Fraud Risk experts helps to leverage off the knowledge of the cultural and working environment and also the industry knowledge. This approach allows for an immediate buy-in on the recommendations made, as the client himself has been a part of the risk assessment exercise. The corporate kings of our county require these services.
Due diligence enable the clients to enter a foreign market or open a foreign operation; seek new sources of capital; recruit new dealers, franchisees, or distributors; licence their product or services to another company; establish a strategic alliance or joint-venture partnership; invest in a business; acquire or merge with another business; appoint directors; extend credit. These kinds of investigations can also be carried out with the aid of the forensic accountant.
Information Security Risk Assessment
Information security is the buzzword of the new era. It includes formulating policies, practices and procedures to prevent any loss of sensitive and confidential information. These services address the concerns of clients in respect of safeguarding their critical information against unethical and illegal attempts by rivals and interested parties. Forensic accountants with technology exposures are the best-fit candidates for the role of the Information security assessment. In USA Sarbanes Oxley act has compelled the companies to get assessed their Information security systems. Generally software companies prefer the technology forensic accountants.
Stamp Paper scam was the biggest scandal amounting to over 30,000 crores of rupees. However when Telgi was arrested he had assets worth few billions of Rupees.
The tracing of the bank transactions convertible into the tangible asset is important since the assets are sold out to repay the losses. Understanding the bank transfers is a technical job which has to be looked with the suspicion. Involvement of Benami Transactions into the creation of assets make it even more difficult for the law enforcemnt officials to recover the assets.
Tracing and identifying client assets that are in the unlawful possession or control of third parties is the area that is looked after by Forensic Accountants worldwide.
When a loss arising from fraud is detected, an organisation has the option of turning to forensic accountants to trace the assets created out of the illegal proceedings.
Companies who are involved in the production and marketing of consumer products internationally have become increasingly aware of the importance of monitoring the labour and business practices of their vendors.
Similarly the bankers in our country are also tracking their borrowers with full concentration. There are not less incidences where the companies across the world have duped the banks in the working capital loans.
Money laundering compliance program
In the wake of Money Laundering Act’2003 the compliance program is the need of an hour.Money Laundering is a serious crime associated directly with the terrorism
The compliance program may addresses four areas:
- Compliance regulations
- Designation of a Compliance officer
- Independent Testing
This program provides our clients with a highly trained, motivated and diligent work force. It further gives them the comfort of proof that they have been diligent, in their compliance program.
The renowned Forensic accountants provide opinions on technical questions of audit, accounting, taxation or other areas. It may also involve quantification of losses in the context of fraud, disputed business valuations, loss of profits, insurance claims, intellectual property disputes and in many other situations.
The software companies have developed the internal audit tools for the compliance with the SOX provisions. Similarly a pre-defined set of the rules for identification of the red flags of the frauds in a software is not far away. To design such softwares the functional consultants with Forensic Accounting Background are preferred.
To sum up the forensic accounting field is the boom of tomorrow in the field of accountancy. The collapse of Enron gave birth to Sarbanes Oxley Act and also proved to be a boom time for the forensic accountants. Mishaps worldwide also increase the demand of forensic accountants.