Forensic Accounting

INSPIRED TO UNCOVER FRAUD THAT IS COSTING YOUR BUSINESS MONEY

Your business peace of mind.

As forensic accountants, we use accounting, auditing, digital forensics, and investigative skills to search through your company’s financial reports and uncover the facts in your case. We use our specialized forensic accounting skills to find, record, and summarize financial losses. We also look at financial damages from fraudulent behavior, a damaging event or a cybersecurity breach.

Our forensic accounting skills are often applied in litigation. We are regularly asked to testify as expert witnesses in the cases we work on. As forensic accountants, we are asked to quantify damages in a wide range of cases to help resolve disputes and assist parties in reaching settlements rather than going to court.

What is Forensic Accounting?

The Oxford Dictionary defines forensic accounting as “the use of accounting skills to investigate fraud or embezzlement and to analyze financial information for use in legal proceedings.” As money laundering rises and compliance regulations become stricter, the need for professionals who are experts in forensic accounting is on the rise.

The need for forensic accounting stretches into any situation where there’s suspicion of fraud in an entity’s financial transactions. The “Big 4” accounting firms have large forensic accounting divisions, but even small businesses and individuals have a need for forensic accounting services.

Forensic accounting skills can become necessary in corporate mergers and acquisitions, during due diligence examinations, in divorce cases, during ownership and profit-sharing disputes in startups, and in tax investigations. This includes interviews with company personnel, deep examination of company financials and internal books, and so on.

Forensic accounting expertise is vital in any instance where financial records are brought up and the deposition of witnesses is necessary. In such circumstances, it's advisable to hire a forensic accountant too early rather than too late. Having a forensic accounting specialist or team on hand can be vital during discovery proceedings.

The top forensic accounting firms combine the audit skills of a CPA with the investigative skills of a detective. Forensic accountants need a keen eye for detail, the ability to see patterns, patience, and an unrelenting curiosity. People who enjoy solving mysteries and want to combine accounting and criminal science skill sets can have rewarding careers as forensic accountants. This is a growing field, and organizations such as the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners issue the Certified Forensic Examiner certification.

What Do Forensic Accounting Firms Do?

It's obvious that forensic accountants conduct deep audits on financial records. But they do more than that – forensic accountants are also investigators. This means they need to use many of the same methods that detectives and police do.

This includes gathering evidence, interviewing subjects, and so on. This all has one goal – to be able to submit their findings to a court of law and have their findings withstand the scrutiny of courtroom examination.

Forensic accounting teams are often hired to defend the positions of their clients and may face off against fellow professionals in stating their case. Forensic accounting companies can either be hired by companies to track down fraud internally, or by government investigators to assist in investigating fraud within organizations.

However, as forensic professionals, everything a forensic accounting company does must be able to be submitted under oath. So, objective fact is what forensic accountants strive to discover. Everything must be legally admissible for their work to be worthwhile. Forensic accountants must be independent and impartial, even when directly working for a client.

In legal terms, forensic accountants investigate what are called crimes against property, as opposed to crimes against the person. Forensic accountants have to determine the nature of crimes where business is interfered with, value is stolen, profits redirected or other theft of value takes place. Forensic accountants usually follow three broad steps when conducting an investigation:

  1. Meet with the client (either company owners or governmental/law enforcement organization) to determine the stated goal of their investigation – who created this loss, how did this fraud occur, etc.
  2. Inspect the records – perform a deep search of the organization's internal books to track down when the fraudulent activity occurs
  3. Conduct interviews – speak with everyone involved, building a picture of what occurs, much in the same way that any other investigator does

Forensic accountants may need to speak with business partners, employees of all levels, suppliers, financial consultants and banks to build a full picture of what occurred. Discretion, impartiality and patience is key.

If working with law enforcement or internal legal counsel, search warrants and other disclosures must be obtained. Due to the legal nature of many investigations, careful attention must be paid to the legal issues involved in fraud investigations.

When Should You Hire a Forensic Accounting Team

You might ask, “should I hire a forensic accounting company near me?” If your company will feel a need to become involved in litigation, and if sworn testimony and deposition will be necessary in a corporate issue involving financial transactions, then hiring a forensic accounting firm can be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

It's always better to hire forensic accounting expertise sooner than later. Forensic accounting firms like Eide Bailly specialize in litigation support, and having a solid package of evidence ready for expert testimony can save your firm money in the long run. A quick search will likely turn up a list of forensic accounting firms near you. Reviews will reveal forensics accounting firm rankings to help you make your choice.

A forensic accounting firm can also help you in personal matters. In the sad instances of divorces or the break up of businesses, a forensic accounting specialist can help you uncover hidden assets and recover what is owed. These specialists are vital if you are a creditor for a company in bankruptcy – The best forensic accounting firms will make sure that creditors like you are paid according to the appropriate schedule of seniority, providing important support for your litigation team.

Uncovering Fraud and Hidden Assets
Our team of forensic accountants are often requested to determine if crimes have been committed. These types of crimes range from employee theft to insurance fraud. We are also retained in divorce cases to search for hidden assets.

Our fraud detection investigators can conduct fraud examinations to determine if your business has potentially been exploited by others. Fraud in its various forms can be difficult to prevent and even harder to catch. Using our team of certified public accountants (CPAs) and certified fraud examiners (CFEs), we find the truth in your case.

If an insurance claim is involved, we have the expertise to examine loss and fraud claims for insurance companies or for your business. We help you reduce expenses and speed up claim processing by providing forensic accounting and economic damages expertise into each case. This is always done in a fast, efficient manner.

If you're worried about fraud, our investigative techniques are also highly sought after by law enforcement. Our litigation support process allows us to document fraudulent activity using our investigative skills to identify the facts. Our goal is to get you back to business as usual. We also offer consulting to ensure that safeguards are put in place to make sure you are taking every step possible to avoid fraud.

To complement our forensic accounting work, we also have a highly skilled team of digital forensic examiners. This allows us to dig deep into all types of data to get the full picture into your investigation.

Benefits of a Top 25 CPA Firm
Eide Bailly’s roots trace back to 1917. Since then, we have grown to become one of the largest accounting firms in the nation. We have done this by finding talented down-to-earth people that work at our firm that offer amazing expertise and care to those they serve.

Eide Bailly is a top 25 public accounting firm in the United States. Because of our size we have access to fraud auditors as well as business valuation professionals. We focus on many different business sectors, including government agencies.

Our examiners hold bachelor's degrees as well as master's degrees in accounting, and they stay current on all educational requirements in their practice. Our team works with both government and private companies throughout the United States.

Our certified forensic accounting team is ready to act when you have a need. If you are concerned about activities that don't seem to be business-related, we are here to help. We sift through complex financial data and help you present your case in a court of law.

What inspires you, inspires us. Let’s talk.

Contacts

Jeremy G. Bendewald

Principal

701.239.8513

Jason W. Olson

Forensic Services Partner

612.253.6554

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