In this final video in our interview series with Chris Osborne, Partner and head of forensic services at FRP, he explains that not long ago, the job of a forensic accounting was spent sifting through boxes of paper, searching through accounting data for evidence.
Today, while the need to go through hard copy data still arises, technology has made it possible to analyse vast quantities of data in a fraction of the time it used to take, giving forensic accountants more time to analyse the data, interrogate documents and spend more time on the cases themselves.
Technologies such as OCR (optical character recognition) enables forensic accountants to search documents for keywords and sort documents by date ranges, and AI technologies can analyse data faster than a human ever could.
This makes the work more efficient, cost-effective and enables the forensic accountant to find the relevant documents faster.
Cloud adoption has also brought about more efficient working. Being able to share documents with colleagues and clients remotely saves time. Osborne explains that so long as there’s an internet connection, forensic accountants can access documents on their review platform from anywhere in the world.
When it comes to forensic accounting, the human element is still essential but is now enhanced by AI. For example, some programmes will learn from the input of the user, such as how types of documentation are tags. This then saves time when managing and finding documents in the system.
When recruiting for his team, Osborne says that it is important that potential candidates are know experienced in using different types of technology, and how to use it to enhance their work.
Osborne joined FRP in 2016 to set up the forensic accounting practice at the firm and has over 20 years of experience working on disputes, fraud, bribery and corruption investigations.
Over the course of those two decades, he spent three years on secondment with the Serious Fraud Office as a forensic accountant, and a secondment to the Financial Services Authority as a financial investigator. Osborne is a fellow at the ICAEW and has an LLB Law degree.
He says that during his time, he has never experienced a point when the work was not stimulating and challenging.