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A Study on the Importance of Forensic Accounting and Forensic Accountants

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Forensic accounting is the specialty practice area of accounting that describes engagements that result from actual or anticipated dispute or litigation. It provides an accounting analysis that is sustainable to the court which will form the basis for discussion, debate and ultimately dispute resolution. While certainly ideal for court testimony, in broad terms, 'forensic', is about fact finding and interpretation. The increase in number of fraud and fraudulent activities in Nigeria and around the world has emphasized the need for forensic accounting. Engagements of forensic accountants on criminal matters typically arise as the aftermath of fraud. Fraud examination in forensic accounting is different from that of 'traditional accounting' because the forensic accountant has the intuitive ability to analyze fraud. The aim or this paper is to identify the role of forensic accounting in fraud investigations and litigation support and proffer suggestions that will, hopefully, bring to public awareness the importance of this area of accounting.
Article
Defines an expert witness as a specialist who uses special knowledge, skill, training or experience to provide testimony to aid the factfinder. Discusses the criteria and qualifications that should guide the selection of a forensic accounting expert witness. Outlines the areas of expertise within forensic accounting: investigative accounting, economic loss calculation, business and intangible asset valuation. Describes how the expert is matched to the engagement, using six examples; these include misappropriation of funds, business interruption, valuation of a business interest, construction contract damage, marital dissolution, and breach of contract. Refers to the Daubert and Kumho Tire cases, where expertise was challenged as “junk science”, and considers the “beauty contest” choice between two similarly qualified and experienced practitioners.
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