Chapter 6The Data Sleuth Case Plan

AN ATTORNEY ASKED TO meet over lunch to discuss our firm's services, and before we had even placed our order he said, “I've hired forensic accountants before who took months to look at my client's information only to report that they found nothing. They offered no consultation or recommendations for how their review would add value to my work for the client. What do you do that they don't?”

This is not the only attorney who has asked me questions similar to this one. My explanation of our services always includes advising of our case planning process that considers the client's concerns, the attorney's legal theory, and a prioritization of investigation priorities. In doing so, we avoid chasing down every rabbit trail to try to identify all of the things someone did incorrectly. Instead, this process allows us to use data to find answers that advise whether the theory of the case can be supported based on the information reviewed. In the story of the attorney lunch, the next day, we received a referral from his office to do just that.


The challenge in forensic accounting and fraud investigation engagements is that the client story, business, and data sources are always different. At first glance, these types of engagements appear to have little continuity and to require a custom approach. However, almost all financial transactions are reported on some type of account statement: a bank statement, a credit card statement, ...

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