Deloitte Forensic helps clients navigate and resolve crisis and controversy, advising them on strategies to mitigate the disruption that naturally occurs when facing these complex matters. Utilising specialist forensic skills and investigative toolsets, the company uncovers facts in accounting and business records, transforming data into the format clients need to resolve difficult problems.
Deloitte Forensic’s professionals anticipate emerging threats through the use of market-leading technology to uncover possibilities that others may fail to find, and also therefore help clients turn business issues into opportunities for growth, resilience, and long-term advantage.
What does ‘forensic’ mean?
The term ‘forensic’ comes from the Latin ‘forēnsis´ meaning ´of or before the forum.´ In order to understand this meaning, we must go back to Ancient Rome. In those days, criminal prosecutions took place in the Forum, where plaintiffs and defendants exposed their statements of claim and defence.
In ancient times, the first forensic methods were developed by Archimedes, (3rd century B.C.) who, using the law of fluid displacement, invented a physics-related method for unmasking a dishonest goldsmith, who used silver instead of the pure gold he had been provided with to make a votive crown for King Hiero II of Syracuse.
However, it was in 16th-century Europe when forensic sciences started to actually develop in the area of medicine. Scientific discoveries and breakthroughs from centuries thereafter enabled the field of forensic science to grow exponentially ever since.
Nowadays, ‘forensic’ is used to describe all sciences related to the Court, i.e; forensic medicine, forensic anthropology, forensic entomology, forensic accounting etc.
Forensic sciences are mainly aimed at unmasking criminals and throw as much light as possible on the criminal prosecution so as to ascertain the truth, punish the guilty and exonerate the innocent.
The History of Forensic Accounting
With regard to forensic accounting, the first example of an accountant acting as an expert witness can be traced back to 1817 in the Canadian case of Meyer vs Septon.
The term ‘forensic accounting’ was first used by Maurice E. Peloubet, published in an article in 1946 ‘Forensic Accounting- Its Place in Today’s Economy.’
Forensic accounting is the use of accounting for legal purposes and is the result of joining accounting, auditing and investigative skills.
One of the most well-known cases of forensic accountancy is the downfall of American gangster, Al Capone, in the 1930s. In spite of all his illegal activities, including embezzlement and gambling, and the lack of evidence to convict him, the only illegal activity that authorities could use to indict him was tax evasion. Although history and the movie industry captured Eliot Ness’ ‘Untouchables’ as the heroes responsible for throwing Al Capone in prison, it would not have been possible without agent, Frank J. Wilson, from the Internal Revenue Services of the Special Intelligence Unit of the Treasury Department. Agent Wilson found a cash receipt ledger which not only showed the operation’s net profits for gambling, but also contained Al Capone’s name, which had never had an income tax return filed against it, and therefore he was evading tax.
Forensic accounting grew steadily thereafter, especially in the USA, and the FBI, and together with several global financial scandals has played a major role in its development. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was enacted as a reaction to the Enron scandal and put forensic accounting further onto the map.
In Spain, the development of forensic accounting has been closely linked to the ongoing integration of the Spanish economy in the global markets. The promulgation of the Law of Civil Procedure in 2000 increased the power of expert witness in civil procedure and trials. From there on, given the recent legal changes and the supportive environment for companies to be controlled after the Enron scandal, large audit firms in Spain started to invest in forensic accounting.
Deloitte Forensic Spain
Past, present and future
The Deloitte Forensic Department Spain was founded in 2003. Since this time around 50 professionals have joined the project, working in both Madrid and Barcelona, led by two partners: Jorge Lledías and Amir Sarshar.
Professionals working at Deloitte’s Forensic Department have, in most cases, a degree in either Economics and/or Law, together with experience in statutory accounting, or also in technology – telecommunication engineers, computer science engineers, mathematicians, etc.
The team at Deloitte’s Forensic Department are very optimistic for the future. The most devastating economic crisis in Spanish democracy is over, the country is starting to grow, there is an unstoppable development of forensic technology and a greater interest from companies about working with international financial regulations related to financial crime: FATCA, anti-money laundering, FCPA, etc. All of these factors motivate us to embrace a bright future for forensic accounting within Spain.
Fraud Investigations/Financial Crime
Deloitte has in-depth experience assisting clients to turn critical and complex issues into opportunities. As a result of the deep, collaborative relationships built, clients trust Deloitte with some of their most urgent needs, including analysing allegations of corporate fraud or financial mismanagement.
Combining highly specialist skills in the areas of both corporate and anti-fraud investigations with deep financial acumen and advanced analytics, Deloitte produces transformative insights that help clients move ahead with confidence amid an environment of expanding global footprints and increased regulation. The Deloitte global network offers the opportunity to conduct extensive fact-finding and investigations around the world.
Litigation & Dispute Consulting
The Litigation and Dispute Consulting practice helps companies turn critical and complex issues, for example, those requiring litigation and trial support, into opportunities for long-term advantage. Clients are drawn to the team’s in-depth understanding of business issues and their extensive experience in dealing with controversial events.
The team is trained to provide objective expert witness opinions; and represent and arbitrate as needed. It holds extensive experience in being deposed and in testifying in the courtroom and covers a wide range of services, including quantification of damages and loss of profit, expert determination and expert witness, international arbitration, breach of contract, arbitration and dispute consulting.
The Forensic Technology services include Deloitte Discovery and Forensic Analytics. Deloitte Discovery draws on extensive experience and state-of-the-art technical infrastructure to address the full spectrum of computer forensics, eDiscovery, complex analytics, and document review. This covers areas such as computer forensics, dynamic review, electronic discovery – including mobile devices – and litigation readiness, if required.
Forensic Analytics equips clients with market-leading guidance and transformative insights regarding historical events. It also supports and enables intelligently crafted models and insights regarding future outcomes in order to support informed decision-making.
Business Intelligence Services
Business Intelligence Services (BIS) works closely with clients to help them minimise risk and make critical decisions with confidence. If fraud is suspected, companies often require in-depth background investigations to unravel the problem. Deloitte Forensics help their clients get ahead of the issues, performing background investigations of parties suspected of wrongdoing, searches for conflicts of interest and undisclosed business affiliations, or research into whether parties are living beyond their means.
Forensic Accounting Firm of the Year Spain 2016
We are grateful and honoured that Business Worldwide Magazine has chosen to grant Deloitte its annual Award “Spanish Forensic Accounting Firm 2016” for its outstanding work.