Forensic accounting

PwC’s Forensic Accounting team specialises in reviewing and communicating the evidence of actual or alleged cases of financial fraud.

Using accounting skills and communications to resist financial fraud

Forensic accounting is equipping the skills of a chartered accountant to conduct investigations, dispute and litigation support, insurance claim reviews and other issues the results of which could end up in a court of law.

Forensic accountants are often tasked with investigating fraud. By its very nature, fraud is commonly hidden in the accounting systems of organisations, which means a forensic accountant is usually required to unravel the transaction history and reveal what has actually occurred.

In cases of financial statement fraud – as seen at Enron and other corporations – it’s not so much the case of cash being stolen but company losses or liabilities being hidden (or assets being overstated) by false accounting in the financial statements and records. The forensic accountant’s role is to understand the accounting records and show the true nature of the transactions being recorded.

How PwC can help

PwC’s Forensic Accounting team is often called upon to quantify the value of a client’s loss. Any lost funds are traced from bank account to bank account to identify where the money or other assets have ended up, before we work with a legal team to freeze and recover the funds or assets.

With forensic accountants in both Auckland and Wellington, we have particular experience in investigating fraud, reviewing the details of corporate or shareholder disputes, and inspecting insurance claims. We also have specific familiarity in asset tracing and recovery, both within New Zealand and throughout different countries and jurisdictions.

Aside from crunching the numbers, we’re proud of our ability to communicate complex financial transactions or information in a succinct manner using pictures, graphs and language readily understandable by non-accountants – particularly the legal profession, the judiciary and juries.

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Stephen Drain

Partner, Auckland, PwC New Zealand

+64 21 196 2500