Financial investigators, often referred to as forensic accountants, are increasingly being called upon by lawyers, corporate governance officers, government officials, and others...to ferret-out monetary and other pertinent facts and data in a wide variety of situations. You may be faced with a matter, now or in the future, in which a specially-trained financial "bloodhound" is needed.
Financial Investigations Defined - According to the IRS, "Financial investigations are usually very document-intensive. Specifically, they involve records, such as bank account information, real estate files, motor vehicle records, etc., which point to the movement of money. Any record that pertains to or shows the paper trail of events involving money is important. The major goal in a financial investigation is to identify and document the movement of money. The link between where the money comes from, who gets it, when it is received and where it is stored or deposited, can provide proof of criminal activity."
Types of Forensic Accounting Cases - Financial investigators are typically retained by lawyers, business-owners, government agencies, bankers, lenders and investors to help protect the interests and rights of individuals and organizations involved in the following types of cases:
- Mergers and acquisitions due diligence
- Shareholder and partnership disputes
- Economic crime and other criminal investigations
- Personal injury claims / motor vehicle accidents
- Business interruption and property loss claims
- Employee dishonesty (fidelity) claims
- Business/employee fraud investigations
- Corporate internal investigations
- State and city government investigations
- Ethics hotline and whistleblower allegations
- Business contract disputes and economic losses
- Professional malpractice/negligence
- Divorce litigation
- Other types of civil litigation
- Mediation and arbitration
- Specialized audits
- Tax investigations
When you're faced with one of these situations, you should indeed consider how a forensic accountant might serve your needs. Discussing things with your lawyer or CPA might be your best next-step, as they can help you determine if and when a financial investigator is needed. In addition, these experts can help with the identification and retention of one or more well-qualified financial professionals.