This article was composed and written by the promoters of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria (CIFIAN). Views are theirs and not of Trendingaccounting.com
1. Forensic and Investigative Auditors’ work starts where traditional Auditors’ stopped. We are fraud Auditors, and our type of Audit is different from that of Accountants or traditional auditors. Traditional Auditors are checkers, and their work is a routine work of checking payment vouchers and accounting records to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, but forensic and investigative auditors look beyond and behind figures in search of fraud no matter the magnitude and put some measures in place to prevent future occurrence.
2. Accountants prepare financial statement and daily recording of financial transactions in an organisation, but a forensic auditor has nothing to do with preparation of accounting books, rather forensic auditors are needed only when fraud is suspected or have taken place.
Therefore, a forensic auditor is a watch dog in an organisation and his or her presence intimidates fraudsters, because they are always afraid to commit fraud or cyber crimes because they knows that if they tries, they will be caught no matter the mechanisms used for such fraud.
3. Accountants or traditional Auditors have nothing to do with court, but forensic auditors work mostly end in court. As you are aware, in the history of Nigeria, traditional auditors or accountants have not been required for expert witness neither has their report being tenable in the court of competent jurisdiction, but forensic and investigative auditors’ reports always end in court, and at the same time needed to give expert witness.
4. Also of interest is that accounting bodies in the world are being regulated by International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), but forensic bodies like CIFIAN are being regulated by a different body called International Federation of Forensic Accountants and Auditors (IFFAA). Therefore, no meeting point for Accountant/traditional auditors and Forensic and investigative auditors.
5. Accounting bodies is to regulate the practice of Accounting and not forensic and investigative auditing, but CIFIAN is to regulate the practice of forensic and Investigative Auditing in Nigeria as it is being practiced in other jurisdictions where similar anti - fraud organizations exist together with accounting bodies. It has not led to balkanization of accounting profession there and globally.
6. CIFIAN is anti-fraud organisation and NOT Accounting body and does not intend to offer statutory external audit, assurance, compliance auditing and Accounting services like Accountants rather CIFIAN’s work is all about fraud detection, prevention and investigation.
7. Forensic and Investigative Auditing is not just forensic accounting neither is it just forensic audit, but it is a combination of three elements which are FORENSIC + INVESTIGATION = AUDITING. Please nobody should be confused by the word audit in our name because audit there is used in its original meaning. Accountant is different from an Auditor. Accountant can be an Auditor, but an auditor may or must not be an accountant.
Therefore, no one should be misled by whatever you think about the word auditor, rather go for more research and critical thinking and you will agree with me about this analysis. This is an era of deep, extra ordinary knowledge and digital era, which has made things easier than before.
Forensic and Investigative Auditor only need the knowledge of accounting to unravel manipulation in accounting facts and figures, just as the knowledge of Law, criminology, philosophy etc are need to complete the forensic work.
8. Membership of Accounting bodies is limited to only Accountants, but Forensic and Investigative Auditor’ membership cut across other professions like Law, Criminology , Cyber Forensic, Investigators, Information Technology, Taxation, Banking and Finance, Economics, Security Expert, Police detectives, Accounting etc. This is due to the nature of the work involved which need combination of the listed professionals to be completed successfully. Forensic and Investigative Auditor will need knowledge of all these to be qualified as a forensic and investigative auditors.
9. Entering points of an accountant is 1st degree but ours is professional qualifications. For anybody to be admitted to our associate membership, he or she must have at least two year post professional qualification from a recognised body by CIFIAN, like, CFE, CPA, CISA, ICAN, ANAN, CITN, NBA,ICEN, CIBN, CFA, CIPFA, ACCA, IICFIP, CPFM, ACSA, ICAEW, etc. These categories must complete our training in ten modules and can be certified as an associate member of the institute.
Associate member will pass our exams from PE 1- PE 4 if without experience, before qualifying as a chartered member. For Chartered membership, one must have a minimum of ten years post professional qualification experience in the relevant fields and pass our exams at stage 3 & 4 before he or she can be qualified as our chartered member.
10. I want to state clearly here that Accounting profession is multidimensional, and this is not limited to Accounting profession only, but it applies to other professions like Medical and legal profession. In Medicals, there is dentist, Cardiologist, opticians, nursing, neurologist, etc.
In Law, there are bodies for reconciliators and arbitrators etc, and they have not balkanized Law profession, rather they co-exist with Nigeria Bar Association. In Nigeria we have Police, Road Safety, VIO, Civil Defense, Nigeria Customs Services. These bodies have not Balkanized Police Force; rather they put synergy together for perfect of life and properties in Country. Therefore, the coming of the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Auditors of Nigeria is a good innovation and should be celebrated by every well meaning Nigerians.