Data analytics as a fraud prevention tool is now the norm for forensic accountants. The process involves identifying patterns of fraudulent activities from large sets of raw data in order to draw conclusions which are further investigated. Specialists also use artificial intelligence (AI) programs to process large amounts of data, or automatically construct charts and diagrams to display crucial information, such as dubious transactions or email threads.
Annie Chan, Partner and Managing Director of Corporate Recovery and Forensic Services at Mazars Hong Kong
and an Institute member, says the firm recently acquired machine learning software company Zettafox, and uses its software’s AI capabilities to predict the odds of fraud occurrence. “We instruct AI what to analyse and what results we want,” she says. “For example, if a company’s expenses are ever-increasing and reaches a stage where it looks suspicious, it will automatically notify forensic accountants.”
She also says the latest advancements have breathed fresh air into the specialism, and she encourages CPAs looking for a change in pace to consider it. “Many new forensic accountants are auditors looking to try something new, and a lot of them nd it to be more interesting and exciting than routine accounting work,” she says. “Things are moving very fast with new developments in technology, so I really hope we get more young professionals to join.”
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Credits: Jeremy Chan for A Plus magazine, August 2019 issue