An Evaluation Of The Relevance Of Forensic Accounting In Financial Statement Preparation And Presentation A Private Sector Organization
The research topic: Titled “An evaluation of the relevance of forensic accounting in financial statement preparation and presentation in a. private sector organization: a case study of Juhel Nigeria Limited, Emene, Enugu, The research work points out a vital weakness that existed in financial statement prepared by private limited liability company and posed recommendations on how to go about solving the problems in other to encourage better financial statement preparation and presentation in a private sector organization and foster accountability and reliability of the financial statements prepared and published. Both primary and secondary source were used for the study. The primary source consisted of questionnaire distribution and personal interview while, secondary source included textbooks, journals and internet materials. Data collected were analyzed using sample table and percentage analysis while the hypotheses formulated were tested using Z-test mathematical techniques. Following the investigation and analysis of data; the following findings were made: the financial statement preparation and presentation would improve largely with the introduction of forensic accounting, the identification of the features of forensic accounting that would enhance the improvement of the financial statement preparation’ and presentation, to reveal the technological innovations like the computerization of accounting records. From the findings, the researcher made the following recommendations, the organization should established a functional system of forensic accounting that would be constantly up dated to keep to pace with the ever growing and improving technological innovation, the management should ensure that there are back up files to every computerized accounting record and restrict access to such files to only authorized responsible officers, an adequate staff training and ‘motivation should be put in place in order to discourage fraudulent tendency.
1.1 Background Of The Study
Financial irregularity is a sever problem of concern globally. It is the major concern to developing nations. It is so endemic that fraud and corruption is gradually becoming a normal way of life. Financial irregularities are so common that almost every individual cannot wash his or her hands, clean of it. Starting from the public sector to the private sector; from the presidential villa of the nation, down to the political office-holding ladder, to the ward Councilors; from the managing Directors of a company, through middle management cadre and to as low as messengers. Individual perpetrates fraud and corrupt practice according to the capacity of their office. Although financial irregularities affects private and public sector, the magnitude of public offices fraud, together with the extent to which citizens are affected, calls for alarm.
No money is entirely free, every naira and kobo has its legal use, and consequently misuse of any amount will impact negatively on where it should legally be used. The effect of these can be on an organization or a whole nation. If the effect is not direct it may be indirect as it may affect facilities and infrastructure that IS supposes to be beneficial to the concerned.
Unless it is impossible, individual or establishment affected negatively by the fraudulent or corrupt practices will want to seek redress.
Individual, corporate body and interested government organs takes action towards seeking redress, using various agencies such as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Public Account Committee (PAC), whose main duty among others is to investigate into case of reported fraud misappropriation and mismanagement of organization fund and also the law court. Whatever an investigator wants to do, will not be complete if the extent to which the affected person is affected is not quantified. This and other pecuniary areas are where the service of the experts “Forensic accountant” are been engaged for a very long time worldwide and probably, recently, in Nigeria.
In ensuring that financial statements are prepared devoid of errors and material misstatement, the companies and Allies Matter Act (CAMA) 1990 as amended to date made it mandatory for companies to have audit Committee with stipulated duties and that financial statements should be audited by external auditors. Despite these audit practices, a lot of financial irregularities have existed in the cause of audit practices and that led to the advent of forensic audit. All the above measures are geared towards ensuring accountability, but the question is, to what extent is forensic audit or forensic accounting relevant in financial statement preparation and presentation in a private sector organization.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
The increasing wave of fraud and embezzlement of organization funds and property by officers in private sector organization has’ brought to limelight or exposed the problems that are associated with financial statements prepared and presented in private limited liability companies. The problems of fraud and financial report misstatement and errors in financial statement prepared and presented m a private sector organization.
1.3 Objectives Of The Study
The objective of this research is to examine the relevance of forensic accounting in financial statement preparation and presentation in a private sector organization. Specifically, the study attempts to;
- Find out if the introduction of forensic accounting would result to an improvement in the financial statements prepared and presented.
- Ascertain if the nature of forensic and investigative accounting justify the purpose for which it exists considering the level of fraud and financial misappropriation of funds in the private sector organization.
- Determine if it would be justifiable to conclude that existing legislation such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences (ICPC) Act 2000 and others have not taken the role and duties of forensic accounting.
- Determine the level of forensic audit reliability in private limited liability companies.
- Foster understanding of the basic forensic skills
- Learn the role of a forensic accountant as it involves financial statement investigations.
- Identify ways of minimizing fraud and financial misappropriations.
1.4 Statement Of Hypotheses
The following hypotheses stated in the null are tested in this study;
HO1: there is no significant relationship between the improvements in financial statements preparation and presentation in a private limited liability companies and the introduction of forensic accounting.
H02: there is no significant relationship between computerization of accounting documents and its effect on the procurement if evidence in an event of fraud.
H03: there is no justification to conclude that existing legislations have not taken over the role and duties of forensic accounting.
1.5 Research Questions
For the purpose of this research, the following questions would constitute the research questions, which the topic of this research work is centered upon:
- Given the prevailing level of fraud and financial report misstatement and errors in private limited liability companies, would the nature of forensic and investigative accounting justify the purpose for which it exists?
- Would it be right to conclude that the improvement in financial statement preparation and presentation is because of the introduction of forensic accounting?
- To what extent can technological innovations enhance or deter fraud?
- As a growing accounting filed, would it be justifiable to conclude that existing legislations such as the ICPC Act, 2000 and others have not taken over the role and duties of forensic accounting?
- To what extent can fraud and financial misappropriations be minimized?
1.6 Significance Of The Study
This study intends to provide a means of ensuring that financial statements are prepared devoid of fraud, error and material misstatement in private limited company. Obviously it is the duty of an auditor to express an opinion about the true and fair view of a financial statement. The auditor need to have a convincing report in other to express such view, which would serve as a basis of assessment of company’s performance to all interested parties. This study has a dual significance to auditors and the society, which comprises of all interested parties to the activities of the companies. To the auditor, the existence of a forensic and investigative accounting report would serve as a basis of expressing an opinion with a reasonable level of dependence considering the technicality of forensic investigation procedures.
The interested parties like the shareholders, investors and consumers etc would place there confidence on these financial statement knowing that there is a system of forensic accounting in place. This will help to maintain the integrity of the company’s transactions and financial statements.
1.7 Scope Of The Study
This paper shall study the’ relevance of forensic investigative accounting, its purpose and effects on the private sector organization as regards it financial statement preparation and presentation. It will also look at the meaning and causes of financial reports misstatement, errors fraud and financial irregularity. The study focuses mostly on Juhel Nigeria Limited.
1.8 Limitation Of The Study
The researcher faced some setback, which necessitates the constraint of this study to Juhel Nigeria Limited.
Some of the constraints experienced include:
This was a key limiting factors as money was needed for several things done for the success of this project work, ranging from materials search cost, photocopying and transport cost.
The Company visited in the research work had certain procedures and organizational culture that were not research friendly and were meant to be crossed for the success of this research work.
The researcher as a student also have academic activities which limited the time used for the project other than what it would have been. Also considering the shortness of the semester and the times of submission’ of this project, there was not enough time life for the research work.
Lack of Adequate Research Facilities:
The researcher was faced with lack of adequate research facilities like up-to-date information and non-availability of relevant textbooks. It was a bit hard acquiring enough review and research materials.
1.9 Definition Of Terms
This has been defined as an accounting analysis that can uncover possible fraud, and is suitable for presentation in court.
This is often associated with investigations of criminal matters. A typical investigative accounting assignment would be .an investigation of employee theft.
This is an examination of evidence regarding an assertion to determine its correspondence to established criteria carried out in a manner suitable to the court.
This is the utilization of specialized investigative skill in carrying out an inquiry conducted in such a manner that the outcome will have application to a court of law.
Albrecht (2003), defined fraud as a representation about a material fact which is false and is internationally or recklessly so, which is believed and acted upon by the victim to the victims damage.
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