Fraud – Accountants face ‘extreme dangers’

Forensic accountants will today join financial crime experts from around the world in calling for minimum global standards of anti-corruption legislation.

Speaking at the Fourth International Fraud Convention in London, Bill Cleghorn, PricewaterhouseCoopers head of forensic investigations, will argue that fraud is on the increase and that an agreement is needed in setting up a worldwide fraud-monitoring force.

He will also highlight the extreme dangers that forensic accountants face when investigating corruption in many areas of the world.

His speech will refer in particular to those working abroad in ‘hostile environments’, where forensic accountants are at risk of kidnapping, robbery or even death threats.

‘If we do a job, we have to stand up and be counted. We cannot be in a situation where we can be manipulated,’ he said this week.

Cleghorn will argue there is a need to reform liability laws for accountants working on fraud cases around the world.

He said PwC often tried to limit its liability during specific cases, but that this did not go far enough given the extreme situations in which practitioners sometimes found themselves.

This was also necessary given the fact that forensic accountants often have only limited time to acquaint themselves with local law, a fact which is often to the advantage of the opposite side. Cleghorn will be speaking alongside KPMG forensic accounting manager Gus MacKenzie.

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