Forensic accounting applies accounting and auditing methods and procedures to legal matters of both a criminal and civil nature. Criminal cases often include the likes of fraud or illegal insurance claims, whereas civil investigations generally relate to family matters and business disputes. Throughout any investigation the accountant must be as discreet and efficient as possible to protect the reputations of their clients.
Most specialists are hired on a case-by-case basis, though some larger accounting firms employ their own forensic accountants. These may be assigned very particular tasks, such as fraud investigation or dealing with insurance or personal injury claims. Those hired individually are commonly called upon by law enforcement agencies, businesses, and insurance companies.