The study examined the role of forensic accountant as a panacea to fraud detection adopting some selected quoted companies in Nigeria as my case study. The study aimed at investigating how fraud can be detected and controlled in companies as well as how the internal control system and financial reporting quality can be improved in companies through the forensic accountant. Samples were drawn from the employees of Julius Berger plc, PZ Nigeria plc and UAC foods plc in five departments of the companies using convenience non-probability sampling method. The hypotheses formulated were tested using chi-square test. From the analysis carried out, it was found out that the forensic accountant can detect fraudulent activities in companies as well as control the activities. The study thus concludes that in other for companies to reduce their rate of financial irregularities and be financially efficient, the need for a forensic accountant is important.
1.1 Background of the study
Financial irregularity is a big problem globally and it is of a great concern to the developing nations. Financial irregularities are so common and serious that fraud and corruptions is gradually becoming a way of life and almost every individual cannot be free or clean of it. Individuals get involved in fraud and corrupt practices according to their capacity of office. No money is entirely free as every naira and kobo has it legal use which consequently means that any form of misuse will negatively have an effect on where it ought to be used. This effect can be direct or indirect on companies or the nation at large. Individuals and companies affected negatively by the fraudulent and corrupt act will want to seek redress by using different institutions such as the police and the law court. Hence whatsoever an investigator wishes to do will not be complete if the extent to which the affected companies are not quantified. This and other pecuniary areas are where the service of the expert “forensic accountant” is being engaged in for a long time worldwide and recently in Nigeria.
Forensic accounting evolved as a result of certain emerging fraud related cases. Forensic accounting encapsulates all other investigation related areas in uncovering financial fraud. It is referred to as the tripartite practice of utilizing auditing, accounting and investigative skill to assist in legal matters. Modugu & Anyaduba (2013). According to Okoye & Gbegi( 2013), forensic accounting is an engagement that results from actual or anticipated dispute or litigation It is an investigative style of accounting used to determine whether an individual or a company has engaged in any illegal financial activity. Forensic accounting can therefore be seen as an aspect of accounting that is suitable for legal review and offering the highest level of assurance. Apostolous & Weber (2000). Forensic accounting is the application of financial skills and investigative mentality to unsettled issues, conducted within the context of the rule of evidence. Arokiasamy & Cristal (2009). Forensic accounting as a discipline encompasses fraud knowledge, financial expertise, and a sound knowledge and understanding of business reality and the working of the legal system. Forensic accounting may be one of the most effective and efficient way to decrease and check accounting fraud. Forensic accounting is described as the integration of an individual’s accounting and auditing knowledge with investigative skills that have been gained from years of practical experience. It is the means by which the forensic accountant carefully examine instructions given by a client, usually through a solicitor, thoroughly investigate those instructions and the underlying circumstances, examine the financial information and any relevant contracts and other agreements, obtain appropriate evidence, prepare any appropriate calculations, form a conclusion and publish the whole in the form of a report suitable for presentation to the court. Forensic accounting consist of two major component which are litigation service that recognizes the accountant as an expert consultant and the investigative services that uses the forensic accountant skill and require court room testimony. The increasing sophistication of financial fraud requires that forensic accounting be added to the tools necessary to bring successful investigation and prosecution of those involved in criminal activities. The focus of this study is to examine the role of forensic accountants in detection of fraud in Nigerian companies.,……
1.2. Statement of the problem
In recent times, various frauds have been committed in different companies, corporate organization in private sector as well as the public sector economy. Okoye & Akamobi (2009), Owojori & Asaolu(2009), Izedonmi & Mgbame (2011), Kasum(2009) as cited by Modugu & Anyaduba (2013) have all acknowledged in their separate works that there is an increasing rate of fraud and fraudulent practices in Nigeria and financial irregularities have become the order of the day in Nigeria. The independence of the internal auditor is of no guarantee because the auditor works as an employee of the company while the independence of most external auditors has already been impaired and does not sufficiently provide a guarantee any more. Irrespective of the presence of both internal and external auditors in companies, fraud is still being perpetuated on a daily basis. As there are more and more development in the information communication technology (ICT) world and other field, so fraudsters continue to groom their tactics towards fraudulent practices. It is now important that forensic accounting is introduced and practiced since external auditors do not or may not have the required training to be able to tackle modern day fraud like white collar crime such as security fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcies, contract dispute and criminal financial transaction; including money laundry by,..
organized criminals. These areas have become a complex area of concern for the accounting profession. Although, there is a general expectation that the forensic accountant can be able to curtail financial irregularities experienced in several companies. However, there has not been any emphasis on a specific way on how the forensic accountant can totally curb financial crime. Thus, the study seeks to fill this gap by providing answers to the following research questions.
1.3. Objectives of the study
The broad objective of the study is to evaluate the role of forensic accountant on detecting financial fraud in Nigerian quoted companies
The specific objectives of the study are to:
i. Examine the possibility of detecting the occurrence of financial fraud through forensic accounting
ii. Evaluate the effectiveness of forensic accounting in financial fraud control.
iii. Identify the predisposing factors that ensure the improvement in financial reporting quality.
iv. Investigate the adequacy of internal control system of selected companies.
v. Ascertain the difference between forensic accountant and external auditors
1.4. Research Questions
This study aims at providing answers to the following highlighted questions based on the research objectives.
i. How does forensic accounting effectively detect the occurrence of financial fraud?