No auditor or forensic accountant really knows the craft without absorbing Mark Nigrini's highly readable, entertaining and insightful tome, Forensic Analytics. The book's major contribution is a suite of mathematical tests dubbed the "Nigrini Cycle," an amazingly easy tool for quickly zeroing in on possible waste, fraud, and inefficiency in A/R, A/P, travel expenses, payroll, Medicare billings, and P-cards, to name a few.
Financial analysts of all stripes -- external auditors, forensic investigators, and internal auditors -- not only can but should read this book, as a matter of professional due diligence. I love how Mark walks the reader, screen-by-screen, through the Nigrini Cycle using MS Excel and Access. Sr. Manager - Partner types who think themselves incapable of using Access might want to reconsider. With Nigrini's help, MS Access really is like falling off a log. (Bad pun that only readers of the book can appreciate.)
After dabbling in Benford's Law in the summer semester, 2012, now, in the fall semester, the use (not just the reading) of Forensic Analytics is a requirement of my Forensic Accounting students in Kennesaw State University's Master of Accounting program. With the Nigrini Cycle in their professional tool-kit, our grads will have a significant leg up on the competition -- until everyone else catches on, as they certainly should.
Back in the summer, I introduced Benford's Law to a local large-firm audit partner. This morning, he told me that they have now used Benford's Law on some of their audit engagements. Describing the experience, his face lit up as if he were describing a favorite golf club. "This thing really works! And the clients love it." In the auditing business, a math tool that triggers such a response is something special. No, I am not writing on commission. Yes, you will love this book and what it does for your understanding of numbers, especially financial ones.