What Is Forensic Accounting?
Ask any two practicing forensic accountants to define what forensic accounting is, and you are likely to get two different answers. Both may be accurate, and there likely will be some similarities within the responses, but still there is no one consistent answer recited by everyone who practices in this specialized area of accounting. The responses provided will depend largely on the background, experience, and areas of practice of each individual forensic accountant.
Forensic accounting definitions commonly refer to fraud, fraud prevention, and fraud investigations as the role of the forensic accountant. While those definitions are not necessarily inaccurate, they provide a definition of forensic accounting only within the specific context of fraud. Many books have even been written about forensic accounting that focus the writing on fraud schemes, preventing them as well as investigating them, and include a wealth of information relating to fraud. This is the case with A Guide to Forensic Accounting Investigation by Golden, Skalak, and Clayton. It is an excellent publication and one I rely heavily upon in my class as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut, but the issue is this—the book is titled A Guide to Forensic Accounting Investigation and not A Guide to Fraud Investigation. Fraud is only one context where the skills of forensic accounting can prove invaluable—there are many, many other contexts beyond ...