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Five Skills that a Forensic Accountant Needs to Possess - Research Paper Example

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In the paper “Five Skills that a Forensic Accountant Needs to Possess” the author tries to understand why regular accountants and auditors, forensic accountants are typically tasked to uncover fraud and provide expert opinion to help the trier of facts evaluate the financial information…
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Five Skills that a Forensic Accountant Needs to Possess
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Download file to see previous pages The country’s top accredited organization of accountants, AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) made a study on what are the top skills for a forensic accountant needs to possess to become effective with his or her job. The respondents of the study were academics and practitioners. a. Analytical and detail oriented Their study revealed that a forensic accountant has to be analytical. Both the academics and practitioners that a forensic accountant must have the analytical proficiency that would provide an invaluable insight to the practitioner in its engagements than the regular auditing and problem solving skills (AICPA a, nd). Frauds are deliberately concealed and uncovering them requires analytical skills and dedication to details in addition to the usual auditing and problem solving skills of accountants. b. Interpretive skills or intuitive investigative skills The ability to interpret data and simplify them were also ranked as the second among accountants and academics (AICPA a, nd). They complement the analytical skill of a forensic accountant for this skill allows the practitioner to determine the usefulness of such data. Other respondents called this intuitive investigative skills or the ability to intuitively associate information for it to be useful in any forensic accounting investigation (AICPA a, nd). c. Soft skills/effective oral communicator The ability to communicate effectively was deemed important in the practice of forensic accounting. This is both oral and written communication. This skill is essential for a forensic accountant to possess because the nature of the work requires the practitioner to provide an expert opinion either orally (i.e. giving expert opinion in court of laws, providing consultancy advise to clients) or in a form of a formal written report (AICPA a, nd ). Forensic accounting is such a complex discipline and the ability to simplify information and language that can be easily understood by verifier of facts or clients is an essential skill. d. Skepticism In the study, some respondents wrote it as “skepticism” which is essential for an investigative work. This became an important skill of a forensic accountant in cases where the practitioner is tasked to uncover or investigate fraud. e. Ethical Being ethical is ranked as one of the top five skills of a forensic accountant because this skill is “consistent with the mission of the forensic accountant” (AICPA a, and pg. 11). In plain language, forensic accountants are the antidote to frauds and scams and if they themselves are susceptible to unethical behaviors which they are tasked to investigate and uncover, the general public will be left with nothing to shield them from such undesirable financial practices. In addition to these five skills that a forensic accountant must profess, the practitioner must also have the ability to review large volumes of financial statements and documents. A forensic accountant must also be grounded on the various business models that companies use. The practitioner must also be able to prepare and dispense expert reports under a strict timetable (Owojori and Asaolu, 2009).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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