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The following paper is about the critical analysis between two papers. For this purpose the papers selected are related to forensic accounting. This assignment highlights this importance of forensic accounting by comparing and contrasting two papers on the same topic. The paper titled as "Forensic Accounting as an Investigative Tool" will be call as "paper A" and the second paper having title as "A Model Curriculum for Education in Fraud and Forensic Accounting" will be called as "paper B" in this assignment the analysis and after this.
Investors, businessmen and share holders are over valuing Forensic Accounting than ever before. Forensic Accounting investigation has become important to the investors, businesses and to the public. This importance of Forensic Accounting is duly because of the disastrous failure of big businesses such as Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia etc (Reference required). The disastrous business failure (in shape of Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia) of the early 21st century have been revealing since after. So there is a need across much of the business for a best grab of the scope and skills of accounting investigator in the form of Forensic to prevent such massive frauds in the future. Accounting. Some high corporate scandals like Enron, World com and Adelphia demonstrate and in need to prevent, to deter these massive frauds (Repetition).
Most people seems to be struggling and want to know, how could these massive frauds have happened , how these frauds can be prevented, if not prevented completely what should be happening to the future business? Who should take the responsibility to deter and investigate these frauds? What methods are effective? What should an investigator (auditors), managements and corporate directors look for?
In this regard FORENSIC ACCOUNTING INVESTIGATON had a mere importance to detect these problems, deter future happening, look for new standards and report information. But still auditors have much to be trained and learn about relatively new rules and regulation of forensic accounting.
We live in a post Enron, World com, Adelphia and much more era. It had given us that we thought on new legislations and regulation to strengthen corporate governess and new oversights of the auditors. So that the investors keep trust and have confidence on corporate information's.
Investors are looking to managements, auditors and corporate directors and expecting from them (managements, auditors, corporate directors) to keep the company honest profitable and act responsibly. For these reasons Government regulatory and company boards (Public Company Accounting Oversight Board PCAOB ) reviewing and trying the need for a the new fraud standards continuously.
Some of the definition of forensic accounting and fraud taken from different books are as under.
According to Hoopwood, Leiner and Young (2008) "Forensic accounting is the application of investigation and analytical skills for the purpose of resolving financials issues in a manner that meets standards required by courts of law."
Hoopwood, Leiner and Young (2008) defines fraud as "Fraud is the result of misleading, intentional actions or inactions (including making misleading statements and omitting relevant information)"
The associates of Certified Fraud Examiners (date) defines fraud as "the use of one's occupation for personal misuse or misapplication of the employing organization's resources or assets" (Howard Silverstone, Michael Sheetz 2nd ed. (2007)
INTRODUCTION TO THE PAPERS
Paper A describes the need of forensic accounting as a major tool to deter and detect white collar crimes. In this paper the authors highlights their views of some corporate scandals like Enron, WorldCom and Adelphia. They also mentioned the news report of how terrorist used the international banking system to fund their activities (money laundering). So it is for this reason the paper attracts our attention to raise awareness of fraud and forensic accounting. To support their point of view they talked about a model curriculum built at West Virginia University in 2005 for fraud and forensic accounting. In this paper the researchers talked a little of this curriculum and the methods of how curriculum was built. Apart from this to distinguish between the fraud and forensic accounting the authors gave some definition of fraud and forensic accounting.
"Paper B" illustrate the efforts made in preparing and creating courses and curriculum for fraud and forensic accounting by the West Virginia University. The project was supported by the National Institutes of Justices (NIJ, evaluation agency of the U.S Department of Justice). The main aim of the project was to build up guidelines for students, educators, employers and professionals to understand the knowledge, skills and abilities required for their success in this growing field of fraud and forensic accounting. "The model curriculum guidelines were developed in three stages (1) constituting a planning panel to guide the project and selecting the members of technical working group of subject matter experts (2) developing the curriculum guidelines and (3) field testing those guidelines. (Marry jo et al(2008,p505)" For this purpose two interrelated groups were formed, a planning panel which have 14 members and technical working groups which include 32 members. These members were from across the nation, representing professional's services providers, corporate and industry stakeholders, the legal community, regulatory stakeholders, law enforcement, government, professional organizations, and academics. The curriculum formed was the combined efforts of these 46 experts which took two years to develop.
INTERSTING ABOUT THE ARTICLES
There is being increasing unlawful financial activities. In order to trail these financial crimes, auditors and accountants must have skills, tools and knowledge to recognise them. These papers show the course of such knowledge and tools required and a model curriculum which was ordered by the Institute of Justice to keep the trust of investors and have confidence on corporate information. It is refreshing to note that the curriculum was built involving many authorities across the nation. It not only talk about the professionals auditors but it also involve the students to ensure that the level of entering in the field of forensic accounting and auditing have the skills, knowledge tools and abilities needed to start work in this specialised area of forensic accounting and fraud. This paper also put forward our attention to the interrelationship of forensic accounting, auditing and fraud and the need to work in such a crucial field. The strength of these papers is that it brought in our attention that the scope and work required in the field of Forensic Accounting, Auditing and Fraud. But the data used by the authors is just an explanation of the efforts made in model curriculum. Nothing is new in this paper and no literature has been used.
IMPORATANCE OF THE PAPERS
These papers are so important in this regard that it make a nice contribution to knowledge in the explaining of model curriculum and the necessity of forensic accounting as a tool. These papers also demonstrate the relation among forensic accounting, auditing and fraud. These papers also create opportunity for researchers to have a look insight in the forensic accounting and the need of more research to overcome white collar crime and increased the effectiveness of auditing.
WHAT MOTIVATES THE AUTHORS TO WRITE THIS ARTICLE NOW
Well the timing of "paper A" is quite interesting. It was published in August 2006; soon after the model curriculum was introduced in December 2005.But it is quite problematic that the author did not use any literature. It is difficult to understand why they only explain the need of forensic accounting and did not give the detail of the curriculum issued by the National Institute of Justice in "paper A"?
"Paper B" was issued in November 2008.Again here no literature was used. It looks like that this paper is the extension format of "paper A". Its here a question of asking why there is a need now to explain the curriculum after three years? Why did not the author give the details in the first phase (i.e. in Paper A)
Apart from this some of the business failure in the shape of Enron, WorldCom Adelphia and other highlighted the need to expand comprehensive risk management programmes to reduce inefficiencies and the need to provide fraud and forensic accounting specialists. As a result the demand for greater fraud awareness and to focus on white collar crime has grown. Otherwise there is an increasingly demand of accountants and auditors in the field of forensic accounting to find out financial manipulation, calculate hidden assets, find out estimate of losses. These were some of the facts that the researchers wrote these papers now to increase the awareness to work in the field of forensic accounting and fraud as a specialists.
WHAT IS THE RESEARCH PROBLEM/QUESTION
Fraud is a challenge in business now a days. The need to track white collar crimes is necessary for business and its stake holders and for the shareholders to have faith on the business. Illegal business and financial crimes need to keep track. Perpetrators are keeping records of their business to generate profits, funds and avoid detection and prosecutions.
Experts are necessary to tackle them. Understanding of effective Forensic accounting, fraud and auditing can help in grabbing these crimes and can reduce the risk to business.
As financial crimes, white collar crimes, management fraud, misuse of financial statements are increasing. Accountants must have training, skills and tools to understand these crimes. Apart from these immense corporate frauds like Enron and WorldCom the everyday businesses demands an effective and deterring prevention of fraud.
For such circumstances Governments, businesses and stakeholders need the standards to deter such frauds and forensic accounting can help in reducing the organisation risk and tackling financial crimes.
So the research main question (problem) is the need of effective information and education in forensic accounting, fraud and auditing.
THEORY OR THEORETICAL APPROACH UNDERPINS THE RESEARCH
This is something remains looks like a problem to the research papers, although the authors did well in explaining the process of model curriculum in which it was built. No literature review is used a base of the papers which is a crucial part of the research to start. The only base used by the authors in these papers is explaining of the efforts in the process of building the model curriculum. The researchers did not put any references at the end of the paper except National institute of justice website at the beginning of the paper which put the credibility of the paper in doubt. It seems like an explanation of the process in which the curriculum was built.
KEY MOTIVATION LITERATURES ON WHICH THE STUDY DEPEND
This is the weakest part of the papers with no literature. It is difficult to say the motivation literature on which the study depend. In fact it is a matter of asking why the author did not use any literature in these papers.
These papers are descriptive type which illustrate that the National Institute of Justice Development to build up a model curriculum for forensic accounting and fraud. The author explains the process and development done in the preparation of the model curriculum. In fact the only strength of these papers is the data collection from the National Institute of Justice. The authors have focused only on one channel of the data collection which is quite clear in the papers that only one website of National Institute of Justice has been used as a reference. No other references were found in the papers about data collections.
SELECTION OF SAMPLES
Well the sample used by the author in "paper B" was survey and were the students from West Virginia University in March 2004. The paper states of a field tested model curriculum at West Virginia University which is probably the strength of the paper. Eighteen (18) students were successful in the field tested model curriculum. But the author did not stated that how many students actually took part in the field testing.
The course was revised and the field test took place again in summer 2005 at West Virginia University .This time two different groups were selected to practice professionals as a proof of concept for the model curriculum. As a result the model curriculum was modified in the end of 2005 and then it was presented to public comments and finalizing in December 2005.But again the author did not mentioned any specific numbers of the groups. There are some concerns that Why the author used an old sample (2004/05). Why the author did not go for a survey at Institutes where the curriculum was taught? Why the author did not use interview from professionals and qualified students who succeed after giving exams after 2005 till 2008?
The authors did a very hard work in explaining the work done and efforts made in model curriculum in the papers especially in "paper B". Yet there are some questions which are required to be answered. In this regard some of the analyses on both the papers are as;
Why the researcher did not use any literature in both the papers.
Why the researcher did not explain the model curriculum at more detail in "paper A".
Why there is a need to explain the curriculum after three years (in paper B)
Why the researcher did rely only on one website.
Paper B was published in 2008 so why the researchers relied on old survey of 2004/05 (field tested theorey).
Why they did not give the number of the sample they used in two different stages (in Paper B).
To know the success of the curriculum why the researchers did not use any survey at the institutes where Forensic Accounting and fraud investigation (or such courses which were given in the model curriculum) were taught to the students after the curriculum was built.
Why the researchers did not take interviews from professionals who studied at institutes after the curriculum was made.
Why the researchers did not take the interviews from the employers.
These papers are so important in this regard that it brought awareness to the researchers to research in the field of fraud and forensic accounting and grab white collar crimes. These papers were focused on the efforts made by the planning groups and technical groups (West Virginia University) to bring a curriculum which helps in reducing malpractice in financial statements and pinpoint white collar crimes. It helps a lot in addressing day to day challenges faced by the employers, managements, auditors and corporate governance and how to handle and reduce these challenges.