A forensic accountant is an accountant with special skills in analyzing financial data that is the subject of a dispute or litigation. The forensic accountant is often called upon to report on their analysis in a written report or in oral testimony in a court of law. This transition is where the forensic accountant becomes an “expert witness”.
Forensic accountants work in uncovering fraud, establishing economic damages, evaluating the valuation of a business and calculating information necessary in family law (divorce).
Generally, the minimum educational qualifications for a forensic accountant is a designation as a “Certified Public Accountant” (CPA). Additional designations such as “Certified Fraud Examiner” (CFE), “Certified in Financial Forensics” (CFF), “Accredited in Business Valuation” (ABV) and “Certified Valuation Analyst” (CVA) are available. Additional designations are signals to the court that the forensic accountant has a minimum level of education and experience to be a trusted expert.
Forensic accountants use investigative and analytical skills coupled with accounting and auditing experience to determine the nature and extent of financial frauds and financial damages. The forensic accountant must be skilled in verbal and written communication to make complicated financial issues understandable by ordinary individuals.