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19 September 2019

Financial Investigations — When to call a forensic accountant

Forward Thinking Business Blog –

Business or personal situations sometimes arise, where you need to conduct a financial investigation. It could be that cash, stock, equipment or other assets go missing and you suspect theft or fraud but there are many other scenarios an investigation might be needed. These include:

  • Business valuations: It could be that you are thinking about selling your business and need a valuation ahead of the transaction. Alternatively, you might be planning to expand through an acquisition or merger and need to verify financial information you are given ahead of the transaction.
  • Quantification of losses: It could be that you need to quantify losses arising from damage to stock or buildings or loss of earnings as a result of accident or illness.
  • Marital breakdown: It might be marital breakdown and you need to track and value cash and other assets.
  • Partnership dispute: It could be a partnership dispute where you need to go back over a number of years to track profits or other assets.

Most scenarios requiring a financial investigation are sensitive and, depending on the circumstances, may require a disciplinary or legal remedy. Consequently, careful planning and handling of the investigation is essential.

When circumstances require a financial investigation, it can be a stressful time for business owners or individuals. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s a good idea to take professional advice, says Feargal McCormack.

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Initiating a financial investigation

Unless you have the necessary specialist skills in-house, you are likely to need professional assistance. The investigator must be able to analyse financial information, interview witnesses, secure evidence, prepare reports, exhibits and other documents and act as an expert witness if required.

Even if you have these skills, it is a good idea to get objective advice. Situations that appear straightforward at first have a habit of escalating as evidence is uncovered. Often this throws up complex problems and failure to adhere to correct procedures will add to costs in the long run.

Even if the problem seems minor, it makes sense to initiate a robust process from the outset.

FPM has helped many businesses to unravel complex structures and identify the substance and purpose of transactions. This is a specialist area and we have a dedicated team of forensic accountants who are experienced in investigation and asset tracing, litigation support and expert witness services.

If and when controls fail or you find yourself facing situations similar to those outlined above, contact…

Contact Feargal

Feargal McCormack / Managing Director

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