The Similarities and Differences Between a Forensic Accountant, a Fraud Examiner, and an Auditor

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The purpose of this paper is to discuss the similarities and differences between a forensic accountant, a fraud examiner, and an auditor. I believe it will be beneficial to first define each of the terms, then compare and contrast them. D. Larry Crumbley, Lester E. Heitger, and G. Stevenson Smith define forensic accounting in their book Forensic and Investigative Accounting as “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 or using such past financial data for projecting future financial data to settle legal disputes” (1001 Crumbley, Heitger, Stevenson). Simply put, forensic accountants use their accounting background for “legal purposes” (1001 Crumbley, Heitger, Stevenson). A fraud examiner is someone who may or may not be an accountant. They are called in as detectives once a forensic accountant suspects fraud. Their job is to conduct fraud examinations to find evidence that would either prove or disprove fraud. “Fraud examination only refers to antifraud matters” (Wells, The Fraud Examiners). An auditor is an accountant that is hired to review a company’s financial statements and give an opinion on them. There are different kinds of auditor such as internal, external, and governmental, but their jobs are relatively the same. They are used to ensure that a company or organization is maintaining accurate and honest financial records so that others can use them with confidence. Let’s start the comparison with a forensic accountant and a fraud examiner. Forensic accounting and fraud auditing are very similar jobs. Forensic accounting is a broader field that contains fraud exam... ... middle of paper ... ...ther in the way they practice, conduct, and complete their services. The majority of differences come with the specifics of the job. For example forensic accountants need to be well versed in legal knowledge. Auditors are more considered with the materiality of a project than the minor errors, while fraud examiners are looking through the minuet details, but it is clear these fields have more in common than differences. References Wells, Joseph T. "The Fraud Examiners." Journal Of Accountancy (2003): n.pag. Journal Of Accountancy. Oct. 2003. Web. 05 Feb. 2014. Crumbley, D. Larry., Lester E. Heitger, and G. Stevenson. Smith. Forensic and Investigative Accounting. Chicago: CCH, 2011. Print. Louwers, Timothy J., Robert J. Ramsay, David H. Sinason, Jerry R. Strawser, and Jay C. Thibodeau. Auditing & Assurance Services. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2011. Print.

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