Do You Suspect Fraud From Your Accounting Services?

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( — May 1, 2021) — It’s never a nice feeling when you start to suspect that something might not be right with your books – and it’s even more unsettling when you realise that if you’re noticing something’s a little off right now, it probably means something’s been going on for a while.

It’s also a slightly different animal if you’re dealing with an in house accountant who you’re suspicious of, as opposed to an external accounting service – the former can be tackled at least to some extent in house, but the latter is a bit more complicated. You clearly can’t audit an entire accounting service based on your own suspicions, as you couldn’t demand access to any records but your own.

However, if you do suspect an accounting service of foul play, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. There are plenty of services out there to help you deal with exactly this kind of problem – all you need to do is call in the forensic accountants.

What do forensic accountants do?

Although ‘forensic’ is very closely associated with ideas of crime scenes and DNA matches, all it really means is a scientific approach to a detailed investigation. So forensic accounting is simply methodically and scientifically sifting through account records and books to discover any discrepancies, patterns or signs of wrongdoing.

A forensic accounting service will be able to thoroughly investigate the accounting service you’ve raised suspicions about and get to the bottom of what’s going on by applying tried and tested frameworks and methods to uncover patterns of suspicious activity. 

How do I find a forensic accountant?

Forensic accounting might sound like a niche industry because it’s not something we hear about very often, but in fact it’s very easy to find a firm like CFOshare forensic accounting who can take on an investigation for you, and you will be able to work with them to explain your concerns and discover the truth of what’s happening. Reporting any suspected wrongdoing, even if it turns out to be groundless, is the right thing to do – fraud can irreparably damage companies, and must be rooted out where it can. Forensic accountants are the right people for the job.

How can I spot fraud?

There is no one surefire way to spot fraud, and you shouldn’t worry too much about feeling you should be double checking everything your accounting services do – after all, you outsourced it so you didn’t have to spend time worrying about it. However, just go over the books about once a month and keep a weather eye on whether there are any unexpected losses or strange looking patterns – you may not be an accountant yourself, but our instincts are powerful things, and if something feels off you shouldn’t ignore it. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on things that don’t make sense to you either – if there’s nothing to hide, you’ll get a clear answer, but if it’s not quite sparkling clean you’ll likely receive an evasive or abrasive response (a red flag in itself).

Dealing with fraud in your accounting services isn’t something any business owner wants to have to deal with – but if it does happen to you, rest assured there are plenty of forensic accounting firms out there ready and waiting to get to the bottom of it.