Fraud investigation is the act of determining whether criminal matters such as employee theft, securities fraud (including falsification of financial statements), identity theft, or insurance fraud have occurred. Forensic accountants utilize more than their accounting and auditing skills. They use investigative skills to determine what events actually took place in a financial setting.
Forensic accounting is the specialty practice area of accounting that describes engagements which result from real or anticipated litigation. Forensic accounting professionals quantify damages sustained by parties involved in legal disputes and assist in resolving disputes before going to court. Forensic accountants may be called upon to testify as expert witnesses if the dispute goes to court.
Forensic accounting and fraud prevention are related; however, fraud prevention is anticipatory. Fraud auditors try to control a situation before something happens, whereas forensic accountants are typically hired after the fact, such as when a company suspects theft, fraud or embezzlement. Fraud auditors assist in assessing fraud risk and fraud prevention measures implemented by management.
Haefele Flanagan has anti-fraud specialists and forensic accountants, such as Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) and Master Analysts in Financial Forensics (MAFF) on hand ready to assist individuals, companies, audit committees, and board of directors.