Winds of change have been sweeping
across the business world for many years.
This is particularly evident in terms of government regulation and increased scrutiny
of business operations by both shareholders
and the general public. In addition, there
has been an increase in the complexity and
globalization of business. Concurrent with
these changes is the expanded role of the
forensic accountant and a seemingly insatiable demand for their involvement.
Testing the limit of government regulation and business controls is nothing new.
Such practices are largely about greed and,
particularly during economic uncertainty
such as now, they are also about survival.
Business disputes, too, are nothing
new. They know no particular economic
climate. The resulting investigation and
recovery of any losses sustained has been
a traditional role of forensic accounting.
However, a growing appetite for risk management has expanded the role of forensic accountants and increased demand for
Investigative and forensic accounting is
a meticulous probe into instances of busi-
ness dispute, or where there are allegations
of inappropriate or criminal conduct. Bring-
ing into clearer focus the financial effect of
dispute can mean
a speedier and less acrimonious r e s o l u -
tion to them. The experience of a forensic
accountant can also bring about timely
disclosure and recovery in cases of white
collar crime such as embezzlement, fraud,
extortion or bribery. With an emerging risk
management role, the forensic accountant
contributes to the protection from and de-
tection of potential loss, whether from a
disputed business transaction or the dishon-
esty of employees, suppliers or customers.
Ted Baskerville is a chartered accountant and
certified by the Canadian Institute of Chartered
Accountants as a specialist in investigative
and forensic accounting (CA•IFA). He is
chair of the CICA’s Alliance for Excellence in
Investigative and Forensic Accounting (IFA
Alliance). Research and education are major
focuses of the IFA Alliance.