According to the latest figures, the use of forensic accountants within the UK has increased, in line with a reported increase in fraud cases.
UK fraud reached £1.1bn from January to June last year with almost half of that, in volume terms, hitting the private sector. This increase is blamed largely on the state of the global economy.
Although fraud in the UK has increased, leading to a rise in the use of forensic accountants, this is not where the majority of work for forensic accountants lies.
Instead, forensic accountants often work on valuation cases and also focus on a range of civil and criminal matters including contractual, partnership and matrimonial disputes, criminal defence work and confiscation orders, warranty and business interruption claims or looking at the due diligence requirements of business transactions such as mergers and acquisitions.
There is also expert witness work for civil or criminal cases where accounting, investigative and quantitative expertise is required, which is why some departments now call it litigation support rather than forensic accounting.
The rise in forensic accountant use in the UK is also being mirrored in the US, with a recent survey from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), showing that forensic accountants are seeing a noticeable increase in demand for their services.
The survey found that 47 percent of respondents have seen an increase in the hours spent working on forensic accounting; with the biggest areas for growth within the past year including shareholder/partner disputes, contractual disputes, family law, and gift and estate issues.
Interestingly, the term is also coming into use on mainstream TV in the UK, with a number of crime dramas citing the results of ‘the forensic accountant’s investigation’ in a bid to catch a criminal. Maybe the next big detective character to hit our screens will be a forensic accountant.
As an accountant; Roger Isaacs specialises within business turnaround and business valuation.