As business environment continually change alongside every other thing. The presence of fraud triangle also increases thereby giving room for many more accounting frauds. This development gave rise to the demand of individuals with forensic accounting skills.
Just like in every other profession where you are required to have a set of baseline skills in order to be successful, forensic accountants are in addition to being professionally qualified as accountants required to poses some soft skills if they really want to succeed in this exciting field of forensic accounting. The rest of this post will be used to discuss the unwritten required knowledge and skills that you must have for you to be a highly sought after effective forensic accountant.
Ten (10) skills of a forensic accountant
- Fraud identification sixth sense: this is the ability of the individual working as a forensic accountant to identify fraud with little initial information. Most massive frauds are exposed from identification of fraud from minimal initial information that the fraud auditor is given.
- Reasonable knowledge of investigation: forensic accountants should be able to appropriately investigate any matter that has come to their attention.
- Ability to identify issues within figures: forensic accountants are typically presented with data relating to complaints, allegations, rumours, etc. It is now left for the accountant to identify where things can possibly go wrong. This skill is what forensic accountants pick up on the job as university accounting programs don’t teach this.
- Ability to gather and preserve evidence: as a forensic accountant, part of your duty is to prepare forensic accounting information. Gathering and preserving evidence is in fact the most important skill that a forensic accountant must poses. As a rule of thumb, no analysis should be done on the original source of evidence, make a bit steam of it if in digital format.
- Presentation skill: accountants being the professionals that are vast in the language of business should be able to fluently communicate to the intended users of the accounting information. Forensic accountants should have good presentation skill.
- Eye for details: a forensic accountant should be someone that have knack for details. He or she should see the bigger picture that is embedded within what many call trivial.
- Interview skill: interviewing parties involved in an investigative assignment is an integral part of the job of a forensic accountant. Valuable information are usually obtained through a well conducted interview.
- Positive criminal mind: there is no doubt that criminals are among the most intelligent people on earth. I mean how you can succeed as a criminal if you are not smart. Forensic accountants should take a leave from criminals. The only difference is that your smartness and street wise-ness should be used in combating crime and not to perpetrate fraud.
- Analysis and interpretation of financial information: what else will you be doing as a forensic accountant if you are not well grounded in financial analysis and interpretation? The answer is little to nothing. Again, you should apply your positive criminal mind skill her. Look beyond the ordinary when analysing financial statements as a forensic accountant.
- Use of technology: you will be placing yourself in a very disadvantageous position if your knowledge of technology lags behind. Technology is now inseparable form business, accounting and finance. At the very basic, you should be able to find your way around most accounting software.
- Understanding of relevant laws: good forensic accountants equip themselves with the provision of the laws within the industry that they specialise in. a forensic accountant working on a case involving real estate dispute should be conversant with the relevant rules and regulations governing real estate.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post? One last word before you go, never stop learning new things each and every day as you never know what knowledge will come to your rescue in times of trouble.