Companies' financial information is essential for making decisions. For example, to study stock acquisition, grant a loan, or evaluate the company's management team. But there are many decisions regarding marketing, human resources, technology, or any other dimension of the company in which knowledge of the company's financial situation is decisive.

Therefore, it is essential that the accounts be reliable, because otherwise erroneous decisions can be made and in addition trust in the company may be lost.

However, problems of accounting reliability often occur. As an example, we recall a 2014 PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report that shows that in the two previous years, accounting fraud occurred in 11.2% of companies worldwide. It is 8.6% at the European level.

Accounting manipulation is a problem that causes concern, especially when it is repeated frequently, a circumstance that occurs mainly in years of economic crisis, since, with the fall of economic activity, the numbers deteriorate and more managers fall into the temptation to hide that things aren't going well. This concern motivates our interest in detecting fraud before it is too late.

On this topic, in 1996 we wrote the book Creative Accounting in cooperation with the late professor John Blake. Twenty years later the problem continues to exist, albeit with different dimensions, as the world of business, as well as the accounting and mercantile legislation, has undergone significant changes. In some aspects ...

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