Forensic accounting covers two broad areas: litigation support and investigative accounting.
Simply put, forensic accounting is accounting that is suitable for legal review, offering the highest level of assurance, and including the now generally accepted connotation of having been arrived at in a scientific fashion. That is, forensic accounting is sufficiently thorough and complete so that an accountant, in his/her considered independent professional judgment, can deliver a finding as to accounts, inventories, or the presentation thereof that is of such quality that it would be sustainable in some adversarial legal proceeding, or within some judicial or administrative review.
Forensic accountants detect and interpret the evidences of both normal (non fraudulent) and abnormal (fraudulent) phenomena introduced into the books and records of an accounting system (expansively defined) and the resultant effect upon the accounts, inventories, and the presentation thereof. It is imperative, therefore, that forensic accountants first understand what is normal, since even extremely high value abnormalities are introduced by such simple mechanisms as improper account classification or the presentation policy of routine transactions.
Types of situations that require forensic accounting:
Wasting of Marital Assets –Scrutinize community property expenditures and spouse’s activities that resulted in marital asset waste.
International Asset Search –International search for community property for high net worth professional utilizing creative tax planning.
Hidden Asset Search – Identification of hidden marital assets resulting from collaboration between divorcing spouse and stock broker.
Fair Division of Assets – Undervaluation of marital assets and calculation of fair division of marital assets and spousal maintenance utilizing various scenarios.
Reasonable Compensation Analysis – Determination and expert testimony regarding fair and reasonable compensation for divorce proceedings.
Asset Segregation – Segregation and analysis of marital assets for community property dissolution.