Forensic accounting is also known as “investigative” accounting. The purpose of forensic accounting is to identify and investigate some specific aspect or pattern of activity within an accounting system or set of financial records to determine any malfeasant activity that has occurred. Such activities include, but are not limited to, fraud, deceit, or theft (embezzlement). The purpose of forensic accounting may be for litigation dispute and expert witness testimony, to quantify and identify theft or other nefarious activity, or to assist management with specific concerns. Forensic accounting can also be called into play to find hidden and unreported assets, which frequently come into question in divorce, criminal, and civil litigation settings.
Although the skill of forensic accounting is claimed by many, few are truly experienced and have the credentials to succeed. Simply being a CPA does not automatically qualify a person to undertake a forensic accounting investigation. Necessary experience includes hands-on working experience and knowledge of fraud schemes, embezzlement schemes, and how to outsmart the offenders at their own game. It also calls for complete knowledge in the use and operation of accounting systems, and the ability to ferret out unscrupulous use and manipulation of those systems. It involves looking beyond the numbers printed on an accounting ledger and being able to identify the substance of questionable situations. It involves knowing the right questions to ask, how the legal and court systems operate, and what appropriate forensic accounting techniques are necessary.
Meridian Advantage has the experienced and credentialed professionals to tackle forensic accounting tasks, and to qualify as experts in a court of law. Our credentialed specialists include former Bankruptcy Trustee, experienced CPAs, Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF).