Forensic accounting: a blend
Reshma Kumari Tiwari
Department of Commerce, Tezpur University, Tezpur, India, and
Department of Commerce, Nagaland University, Kohima, India
Purpose –The purpose of this paper is to develop an insight into the skill sets that forensic accounting
practitioners need to possess to succeed in the practice of forensic accounting.
Design/methodology/approach –The present paper is based on a literature review.
Findings –Forensic accounting education is multi-disciplinary. It encompasses auditing, accounting,
statistics, information technology (IT), legal rules and human skills. It is similar to auditing, yet different.
Hands-on statistical tools act like an additional equipment for quick delivery of the output when data are
large. Prociency in using IT tools is a must to detect cybercrimes. Human skills are gaining importance
because of social engineering attacks. Forensic accountants must be acquainted and updated with the
relevant laws. Various investigative skills and knowledge are also essential in forensic accounting.
Practical implications –Forensic accounting education can be developed as a separate discipline for
proper regulation of forensic accounting profession. In that case, the need for development of separate
forensic accounting standards may arise. This issue needs to be dwelt upon by the academia and
Originality/value –The paper will enable the universities/institutes to design the appropriate curricula,
assigning due consideration to the required knowledge and skill sets in forensic accounting education.
Keywords Accounting, Forensic
Paper type Literature review
Stewardship form of management, increased competition and pressure to show better
results, etc. have given rise to corporate frauds (Cox and Weirich, 2002;Albrecht et al., 2004).
Sometimes fraud detection is accidental (Seidman, 1939). However, in today’s era, it should
not be a matter of chance. Frauds have several implications such as change of management
personnel, fall in stock prices, delisting, bankruptcy, reduced productivity, legal charges and
disruption, etc. It has necessitated a specialised eld of study known as forensic accounting.
Forensic accounting evolved in the USA. Its application in the corporate eld was widely
noticed in the late 1980s by the US Government, with increased litigation charges after the
deregulation of the savings and loan industry, rising corporate frauds and white-collar
crimes(Carter, 1997;Carnes and Gierlasinski, 2001). However, it should not be construed
as mere fraud detection work (Kahan, 2006). It is the socio-professional activities based on the
techniques and skills of law, accounting, audit and assessment to handle and solve the
problems of illegal encroachment, damages, value maintaining and value adding for legal
purposes (Renzhou, 2011).
Broadly, forensic accountants render three kinds of services – consultancy,
non-scientic testimony and investigative services (Glusman, 2007;D’aunno, 2009;
Akkeren et al., 2013). These services are not mutually exclusive. As consultants, they are
retained by parties to handle disputes, bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganisation, settle
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Journalof Financial Regulation
Vol.25 No. 1, 2017
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