I am frequently asked, “What is a forensic accountant?” I always answer, “We look for dead numbers.”
After the initial shock from hearing this answer...and once the inevitable smile appears, I always explain that a forensic accountant investigates alleged financial improprieties.
Someone once said, “Numbers are numbers and numbers don’t lie.” Well, financial records are numbers, but unfortunately they frequently cannot be trusted to support what they purport. Fraud and financial shenanigans are rampant in American business. Reagan FVL provides a case-specific creative, innovative approach to unearth the truth behind the numbers.
Forensic Accounting…exposing financial improprieties. It is the integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills. Forensic Accounting provides an accounting analysis that is suitable to a court of law, in which lawyers and judges will discuss, debate, and ultimately resolve financial disputes. Forensic Accounting encompasses both litigation support and investigative accounting. Forensic Accountants utilize accounting, auditing and investigative skills when conducting an investigation. Equally critical, though, is the ability to respond immediately and to communicate financial information clearly and concisely in a courtroom setting. Forensic Accountants are trained to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business reality of the situation.
To be effective, forensic accountants must be analytical, detail-oriented, ethical, responsive, insightful, inquisitive, persistent, skeptical, evaluative, function well under pressure, generate new ideas and new scenarios, be confident, make people feel at ease, be a team player, and be adaptive.
Forensic accountants must also possess these skills: effective oral and written communication, critical/strategic thinking, auditing skills, investigative ability and intuitiveness, ability to synthesize results of discovery and analysis, think like a wrongdoer, tell the story, see the big picture, organize an unstructured situation, perform research, solve structured problems, analyze and interpret financial statements, have knowledge of relevant professional standards, experience testifying in court, fraud detection, general knowledge of rules of evidence and civil procedure, understand internal controls, and have knowledge of conflict negotiation and resolution. Whew!
Of all these traits, skills, and capabilities, the ability to comprehend the story, analyze it, unpack it, and tell the story in an easy to understand way is the differentiating skillset that sets us apart.
"I have worked with Greg on several occasions in cases involving the need for a forensic accountant. In each case, his work product has been exemplary. He has discovered fraud and embezzlement, and his efforts in each case have led to a favorable outcome. Further, I have found his knowledge of the accounting standards to be at the highest level. He is compassionate to his clients and dedicated to his work."
– Garrick S., Attorney
Being aware of all of the above, the following capabilities accompany our forensic accounting services:
- Ability to Simplify Information
- Effective Oral Communications
- Ability to Understand the Goals of the Case
- Ability to Identify Key Issues
- Investigative Intuitiveness
- Effective Written Communications
- Ability to Synthesize
- Flexibility and Open-Mindedness
- Breadth of Experience
- Depth of Experience
Reagan FVL can help your company in two different ways…find the fraud and stop it or put preventive measures in place so it never happens.
Fraud can be defined in many ways, but regardless of the definition selected, fraud always contains these four elements:
"Our company experienced an embezzlement in one of our departments. Mr. Reagan was retained to spearhead the investigation. Consequently, Mr. Reagan uncovered a lapping scheme devised to steal cash that was so complicated that initially it appeared nearly impossible to unravel and organize our loss. Mr. Reagan painstakingly plotted, charted, and proved our loss to our insurance company. In three separate meetings, Mr. Reagan proved exceptional organizational & verbal communication skills that provided proof of loss to a very fact seeking insurance adjuster. Mr. Reagan showed integrity during this investigation in that he was being employed by our company but never accepted any assumed loss until totally proven by fact."
– Jim L., Business CEO
- The misrepresentation of a material fact
- The perpetrator knew the factual misrepresentation was false
- The misrepresentation was made with the intent that it be relied upon by someone else
- The victim (the party or parties relying upon the factual misrepresentation) did rely on it and, as a result, incurred a loss
It seems that fraud is everywhere. Of more importance, there are no small frauds; each instance is extremely costly. The 2014 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud & Abuse by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) states that fraud in the United States is a $3.7 trillion industry with U. S. businesses losing an estimated 5% of annual revenues to fraud and abuse. This report is updated every two years and the trends are mostly discouraging. Report to the Nation
It is often difficult to decide whether to pursue a criminal or civil action for an alleged fraudulent act. If both avenues are being considered, be sure to consult with competent legal counsel before initiating any action. “First things” must be done first, or the consequences can be even more detrimental.
Experience has taught us that fraud occurs with the collision of three things. The “Fraud Triangle,” as this collision is known, illustrates three factors that are present in every instance of financial fraud and abuse: 1) an un-shareable need, 2) rationalization, and 3) opportunity. People’s needs vary as does one’s ability to rationalize wrong as being right, and neither can be controlled. However, opportunity can and should be controlled through designing, implementing and monitoring effective policies and procedures to prevent and/or timely detect fraud and abuse.
If fraud has taken you by surprise, you are not alone. And while being in good (or not so good) company is no comfort at all, it is just a sign of the times. Our experience in investigating fraud, assisting legal advisors, and joining forces with police and prosecutors has equipped us to help you. We are members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and our staff include Certified Fraud Examiners and professionals certified in Financial Forensics who possess the necessary training and experience to uncover the scheme, demonstrate it, and prove it.
If you think you may the victim of fraud, call Reagan FVL. Let us help you investigate the matter, quantify your loses, develop a strategy in concert with your legal counsel to recoup all misappropriated funds that are available, develop a strategy for survival, and implement corrective measures to prevent recurrence. Let us help you put into place systems and procedures that will protect your business.
Our fraud investigation services include:
"Greg has a rare and unique ability to plan, execute and deliver on audit and forensic work on a timely basis, and has a long history working with my firm to attest to the same. He has an excellent business acumen that exceeds most of those engaged in this profession. Greg is punctual, reliable, honest, dedicated, loyal and trustworthy and has an excellent personality to deal with a wide range of the public"
– C. E., CPA
- Fraud Investigations
- Asset Misappropriation
- Financial Statement Fraud
- White Collar Crime
- Money Laundering
- Ponzi Schemes
- Insurance Claims Fraud
Court Appointed Support: Troubled Debt Restructuring, Receivership Services, and Bankruptcy
We live in uncertain times and many once successful businesses are today experiencing reduced revenues and profits, stronger competition, and restricted capital resources, which serve to create financial difficulties through deteriorated cash flows. When these events collide, it is important to properly identify root causes to problems, determine feasible actions to mitigate risk, and evaluate realistic chances for success. Reagan FVL has served as Court Appointed Examiners in resolving disputes between debtors and their creditors, enabling businesses to return to profitable operations, and successful transitions from bankruptcy protection.
"I believe integrity and honesty are the most fundamental characteristics needed of any leader. I have witnessed Greg be consistent in this area in both his professional and private life. He truly desires to do the right thing and is reliable in his commitments."
– Amy H., CPA
"Greg is competent and confident in his expertise, yet without a hint of arrogance. He is pleasant to work with. He is thorough, articulate, and accomplished at analytics."
– Thomas D., Business CEO
Court Appointed Receivers should be specially qualified financial experts who understand how to safeguard assets and protect overall business value. Reagan FVL has the experience and knowledge to manage and help turn-around financially troubled entities, ensuring the continuity of operations, the safeguarding of assets, the preservation of employees, and oversight of financial and personnel benefit matters. Court ordered receivership services could be an invaluable resource to the owners of companies involved in litigation to ensure the preservation of their businesses. Reagan FVL can serve as a special master who determines a fair and equitable resolution to financial disputes.
The bankruptcy courts, not unlike other courts, frequently have more cases to manage than resources with which to manage, evidenced by the backlog of unresolved cases. Frequently, large complex cases can become stuck in the process much longer than is necessary and the costs of the administrative bankruptcy process can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A Court Appointed Examiner can be useful in reducing conflict, establishing agreement, and developing an equitable and reasonable basis upon which to facilitate a faster resolution to the disputes at hand.