Beset as the economic backdrop is with tough business conditions and corporate scandal, forensic accounting has become a niche in a larger industry that is expanding due to recent high profile cases.
And if the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has her way, the need for accountants who can follow money trails in the ‘grey and murky’ world of financial crime will only increase.
Ms Cooper has announced at the Labour Party conference that the party would bring in the first-ever Economic Crime Act, encompassing fraud and money laundering, which would certainly bump up the workload of the forensic accountants in practice at the moment.
Meanwhile, in a current appraisal of the Bribery Act 2010 a year on, companies are admitting that they would ‘bend the law’ in order to win business, a practice that could propel them into court and cause them to come up against expert witnesses, who would have dissected their business activities to check for illegalities.
A recent survey by FTI Consulting has shown that 40 per cent of UK businesses still are taking risks in compliance with the UK Bribery Act in the pressure to win business and the belief that regulators will hold back from prosecutions.
But, in what might be an indicator to the contrary, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has taken down its guidelines for business on the Act and under new Director David Green has signalled a shift from the plea-bargains favoured by his predecessor Richard Alderman to criminal prosecutions.
And while the SFO has declined to comment on recent actions, criminal prosecutions in the finance arena can only lead to a greater workload for the accountants who have to find out where the evidence of malfeasance lies.
As an accountant; Roger Isaacs specialises within business turnaround and business valuation.