Forensic accounting is the specialty practice area of accounting that describes engagements which result from actual or anticipated disputes or litigation. 'Forensic' means suitable for use in Court, and it is to that standard and potential outcome that forensic accountants generally have to work. Forensic accountants often have to give expert evidence at the eventual trial. All of the larger accounting firms, as well as many medium-sized and boutique firms have specialist forensic accounting departments. Within these groups, there may be further sub-specialisations: some forensic accountants may for example just specialise in insurance claims, personal injury claims, fraud, construction, or royalty audits.

Engagements relating to civil disputes may fall into several categories: calculating and quantifying losses and economic damages, whether suffered through tort or breach of contract; disagreements relating to company acquisitions - perhaps earn outs or breaches of warranties; and business valuation. Forensic accountants often assist in professional negligence claims where they are assessing and commenting on the work of other professionals.

Engagements relating to criminal matters typically arise in the aftermath of fraud. They frequently involve the assessment of accounting systems and accounts presentation - in essence assessing if the numbers reflect reality.

Forensic accountants may be involved in recovering proceeds of crime and in relation to confiscation proceedings concerning actual or assumed proceeds of crime or money laundering. In the UK, relevant legislation is contained in the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Many forensic accountants are also Certified Forensic Accounting Professionals, Certified Fraud Examiners and/or Certified Public Accountants.

Forensic accountants utilize an understanding of business information and financial reporting systems, accounting and auditing standards and procedures, evidence gathering and investigative techniques, and litigation processes and procedures to perform their work. Forensic accountants are also increasingly playing more proactive risk reduction roles by designing and performing extended procedures as part of the statutory audit, acting as advisors to audit committees, and assisting in investment analyst research.

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Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses content from the English-language version of Wikipedia. The original article was at Forensic accounting. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Forensics Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.