Yesterday I was on the Gold Coast to meet with a client and discuss a forensic accounting matter. One of the advantages of offering a national forensic accounting service is that it gets me out on the road and talking to clients and seeing them face to face.
Another aspect of travelling around Australia is that it allows me time to take time out and think of the “big issues” facing our clients and our business in general. Yesterday my thoughts kept returning to automation, processes and how forensic accounting can benefit from this.
Many practitioners approach forensic accounting from an ad-hoc perspective and expert reports are built up in layers over the process of weeks or even months. In many engagements this is the right approach, however I wonder how much “knowledge” that is built up in one report is actually transferred into the next report and subsequent expert reports. I wonder if with automation, computer programming and databases one could build up the foundations of a report in a much faster, more accurate and ultimately more efficient manner.
I can see a future where the forensic accountant sits down at a computer and builds a report not beginning in a narrative “report” style approach but rather opening a software program and entering data, selecting pre-formatted sections and building the report up in a “database” and then nearing completion exporting the report to the narrative form.
Using computer programming and automated processes is currently used by Rushmore Forensic to initiate business valuation reports and one of the benefits of this approach is that we can pass on the savings in time to our clients. This is approach has meant that we can offer a business valuation report for a fixed fee of $5,990 including GST. The same report without automation and processes would be more than $8,000.
Yesterday’s trip has inspired me to invest more time in building automated solutions that ultimately will result in a better expert accounting report at a lower cost to our clients.
Welcome to the brave new world of forensic accounting!