What Makes a Good Forensic Accountant?

Forensic Accounting Overview

At Cooper CPA Group, we have a considerable amount of knowledge and experience to offer potential clients looking for a CPA firm to provide litigation support, forensic accounting, and expert testimony. We have been involved in numerous cases in the forensic world. Gary N. Cooper alone has conducted over 100 forensic analyses in his career.

But what is forensic accounting?

The term “forensic” stems from the Latin word forum, meaning “public place” or “public court.” Forensic accounting is the action of identifying, recording, settling, extracting, sorting, reporting, and verifying past financial data or other accounting activities for settling current or prospective legal disputes. It also includes using past financial data to project future financial data for the settlement of legal disputes.

Concisely defined, forensic accounting is the use of accounting for legal purposes.

As a discipline, forensic accounting encompasses financial expertise, fraud knowledge, and a strong understanding of business reality and the workings of the legal system. Its development has been primarily achieved through on-the-job training as well as experience working with investigating officers and legal counsel.

The modern role of forensic accounting has been defined by Wayne Bremser to include the following elements:

  1. Pre-trial support, writing a report of causation, gathering facts, translating jargon, organizing data, and formulating strategy.
  2. Trial support.
  3. Expert witnessing.
  4. Settlement support.

Additionally, when dealing with civil actions involving contract speech, a forensic accountant generally must deal with three elements:

  1. Proximate cause.
  2. Reasonable certainty.
  3. Foresee ability.

When dealing with broad issues, the forensic accountant addresses four elements:

  1. Misrepresentation of material fact.
  2. Misrepresentation made knowingly and with intent to.
  3. Reliance on the misrepresentation of the victim.
  4. Damage results from such reliance.

What makes for a good forensic accountant?

  1. Having a strong foundation in accounting.
  2. Have a thorough knowledge of auditing, internal controls, risk assessment, and fraud detection.
  3. Basic understanding of the legal environment and having very strong communication skills, both written and oral.
  4. A forensic accountant must grasp difficult concepts.
  5. A forensic accountant must look beyond the records for suspicious behavior and clues while conducting investigations.
    • For example, a lavish lifestyle may indicate a manager or business owner is skimming money from the corporate account.


Let Cooper CPA Group take care of your forensic accounting needs today.


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