Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations (Wiley Corporate F&A) Hardcover – 17 Jun 2011
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From the Inside Flap
Forensic Analytics Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations
Forensic analytics is the use of electronic data to reconstruct or detect financial fraud. The process of forensic analytics is made up of data collection and preparation, data analysis, and the preparation of a fraud report and the possible presentation of the results.
In Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations, author Mark Nigrini reviews the use of Microsoft Access and Excel in a forensic setting, together with many rigorous analytical procedures to detect employee fraud, biases, and other irregularities including errors. The book includes a comprehensive chapter on financial statement fraud, and the concluding chapter on credit/debit purchasing card fraud shows an authentic dashboard used by a Fortune 100 company.
Nigrini devotes three chapters to a review of the use of Access, Excel, and PowerPoint in a forensic setting. The next eleven chapters discuss data interrogation tests that could be used in a forensic setting to detect employee fraud, biases, and errors. In each chapter, the tests are discussed in general terms and are then demonstrated using case studies with real data. In addition, the steps needed to run the tests are illustrated with screenshots from Access and Excel. Two chapters review, with examples, a risk–scoring technique that can be used to score divisions, agents, or locations for fraud risk.
A full chapter presents various tests, along with real–world examples and case studies, to detect financial statement fraud. The concluding chapter is a case study showing an analysis of purchasing card data using selected tests from the prior chapters, and a presentation of the findings.
The companion website (www.nigrini.com/ForensicAnalytics.htm) has all the data tables used in the book, available for download. Along with notes and updates related to the book, the website also includes end–of–chapter problems and assignments for use by instructors, together with PowerPoint slides for presentations.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
1) I tried to find the purpose to use Access for analytical and audit review: ACL is much more productive in my view, so why bother? For instance, 4 chapters about Bendford Law can be put in practice in a few minutes using ACL Bendford feature.
2) There is no practical description about the Excel new pivot table and statistical features, and it totally misses the new Excel 2010 features (although the book is issued in 2011).
3) Examples of analytical review cover "oil consumption in a US State" and "poll results in California"... not really practical for our usual auditing reviews.
4) Writing style is confusing and overly academic, totally lacking any humor.
Typical university book, not adapted to practical investigations.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Benford's Law fans will not be disappointed--the book includes four full chapters on Benford's Law and it is also covered in three other chapters. The final chapter on purchasing card fraud has interesting examples of actual fraud, an Excel dashboard, and an example of a real analysis of real company data. The book has tests that will be new and valuable to seasoned forensic accountants as well as some basic tests that will be immediately usable for beginners. If you have Excel or Access and your own data, then you could probably use many of the tests in the book right away. This book shows how to run most of the tests in both programs. It should be useful to forensic accountants, auditors, and other accounting and finance types who work with data.
The book covers using MS Access, Excel and PowerPoint for forensic investigation or presentation of forensic analysis. The author also includes many tests that you can apply to look for fraud (misuse/abuse). You also have access to a website that has a lot of examples and data from the various chapters to help you understand the text.
Reading the book was my first introduction in using Benford's Law and applying it to card data. It was interesting to see my data reviewed with Benford's Law. I haven't attempted to apply the other tests to my data yet, but will as I complete reading the book.
If you are a Purchasing Card Administrator interested in mitigating risk, this is a book that can help you understand how to review the data.
Nevertheless, I knew that Dr Nigrini was one of THE leading lights in this topic and I have to say I was not disappointed. I bought the Kindle version of the book so I have to say that I cannot comment on the layout of the book and so on because Kindles are not the best place to see perfect layouts!
The contents are good and the progression of topics is good and logical. I have to say, however, that personally speaking, I didn't need the information on Access and PowerPoint but I can see why they were included.
I did learn a few things from this systematic study of forensic analytics and was pleased to see Dr Nigrini's views on how to deal with results from a Benford's Law analysis. Learning these things made my own understanding and presentations a little better.
I have to say that I didn't have a lot of time to consider the mantissa arc and Kolmogorov-Smirnoff tests but I liked the correlation test: nice, simple and easy to use and explain.
There is a batch of cases to work on, heating oil sales, stock market information and construction data. There is even a very large database of invoice information to work with (approx 189,000 invoices) that will stretch your Excel resources but which will be useful for anyone wanting to work with a real data set.
Overall I found the explanations nice and clear and for anyone looking for a good introduction to the topic, this is a good start.
Dr. Nigrini is best known for his pioneering work, starting in the 1990's, on the uses of Benford's Law of digit frequencies in forensic investigation. Roughly a third of the book is concerned with Benford-related digit-frequency analysis. Here the treatment is slightly more thorough and academic in flavor, but it remains focused on real-world results. Nigrini continues to produce original insights on this theme, with a lengthy description of a brand-new `second order' Benford test technique. Instead of focusing on the digit frequencies of individual items, this test focuses on the digit frequencies of the differences between ranked items. Nigrini shows how this can highlight problems not found by standard Benford testing.
All the tests described in the book are run using Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Access, with numerous screenshots to illustrate the steps. There are some challenges in doing high-level statistical analysis using these tools, and for very large data sets users might prefer an add-in tool, or a package like SAS. For most purposes however standard Excel or Access are quite sufficient. The reader is referred to a companion website which provides sample data sets, class assignments, and PowerPoint slides for anyone wanting to use the book as a text.
The book is a unique resource with regard to Benford, and lays out a solid foundation for financial forensic work in general. Strongly recommended.
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