My Return to Forensic Accounting

10 Oct 2019

Earlier this year, I returned to working in Forensic Accounting after a long gap to prioritise family. I worked in a number of different organisations during that time, in both the private and the public sector, and the world of work had certainly undergone some significant changes, especially technological. So how would the world of Forensic Accounting have changed?

It was refreshingly familiar! The key elements of the Forensic Accountant’s job had stood the test of time. There may have been all sorts of accounting rule changes, FRSs replacing SSAPs, tax rules becoming ever more convoluted, but investigating accounting records, interpreting profits, valuing businesses, analysing earning trends and getting to the bottom of a puzzle were still the same great challenging fun! Well for me anyway – I am an accountant after all.

Technology is playing its part in the administration of the job now. There were still some paper files as some clients and small businesses still provided their accounts and payslips in that traditional format. But there is plenty of technology in evidence too. A Client management system and virtual cabinet help me to keep track of cases and many documents are now only in electronic format. We are still striving for that paperless office though!

What of our clients, the solicitors who seek our assistance in the financial and accounting aspects of their cases. How had they changed? Well most of the names I was familiar with were still around though some notable names had gone, swallowed up in mergers, hidden in a long list of add-ons or, like Wragges, distilled to an initial.

The lawyers themselves don’t seem to have changed though. They still want things at double quick speed but keep you waiting for the information – sorry lawyers reading this but you know it’s true! Although it does seem to me that the legal process has speeded up. I used to have cases that seemed to go on for years whereas now they come and go over a period of months, a steady stream of different types of business and accounting quirks to consider.

So it has been an easy return for me back to the familiar world of forensic accounting, fitting in to a team of the most pedantic, inquisitive and sceptical accountants you will find. But that means we get to the bottom of things.

That’s what I’ve missed in the many and varied other roles I have performed during my break:- administrative, data analysis, classroom assistant and playing the piano! They have drawn on my forensic accounting abilities to look at a problem and work out a way to solve it, to communicate with different types of people and to understand needs and find the best way to satisfy them. What I’ve missed is the challenge of digging under the surface and revealing what lies beneath, which can sometimes be unexpected and is still, after all these years, exciting work.