Forensic Accounting – A world beyond numbers

Word ‘Forensic’ is explained as associating some data/information with court of law or public discussion and debate and when we use this word as an adjective with accounting or auditing then it changes or, otherwise, broaden the traditional meanings of the later nouns i.e. accounting or auditing.

Forensic Accounting or Forensic Auditing means an artistic science to get evidence. Yes, to get evidence, all available evidence, all possible evidence, not just sufficient and appropriate evidence to reach at the conclusion. It doesn’t depend upon any standards or rules and regulations. Yes, for any structured process there should be some rules and procedures and in this case there exists as well but not in a highly recommended form and as abiding force as we experience in assurance engagements.

A forensic accountant does not only deal with fraud investigations but also provides many other services like dispute resolution, corporate intelligence, background checks, fraud risk assessment, litigation support, valuation and expert witness services. So it’s a complete package for any corporate industry. Economies like Pakistan where corporate practices are not well groomed but in a way so this ‘in between’ situation makes us more vulnerable to corrupt practices. Now let’s briefly discus the anti-fraud process.

An impressive fraud case is not like some delicious food putting in a plate on the dining table adjacent to your living room. Rather it’s like looking for a genuine seed among many fakes in an artificial apple putting in a locked computerized drawer of a highly sophisticated case laying under the bed of some anonymous flat on the 200th floor of some busiest road of any crowded city while you are standing 1000 miles away within some real delicious apples’ farm. Forensic will allow you and facilitate you to reach from the real apples’ farm to the real seed sleeping within that faked apple. Ways are many, sky is open, and many sciences of forensic are already here to help us. Here an investigator, a forensic accountant will go and will use others forensic sciences as help and will get the target.

Frauds are evolving, fraudsters are becoming more confident and bold year by year and decade by decade. As means to investigate are becoming sophisticated but ways to perpetrate are also becoming more facilitative for fraudsters. Any fraudulent activity is always covered within covers. Digital forensic, cyber forensic, data forensic, bio forensic, chemical forensic, forensic psychology and many others help a forensic accountant to investigate any case professionally and diligently.

Corruption is a menace for any economy and specially in developing economies. From tax avoidance to kick backs and from money laundering to corporate espionage we are continuously facing the threats but unborn forensic practices and undeclared corporate crimes are worsening the situation specially in our economy. So rather faking perfections we should legitimize anti-fraud and forensic practices in Pakistan to tackle fraud and to discourage the fraudsters.