The most commonly known differences between Forensic and Traditional Accounting:
1. An obvious difference which one can see between a traditional auditor and a forensic accountant is that the former is someone who looks for math accuracy in the accounting department, while the latter looks behind all the financial numbers to catch fraud or embezzlement.
2. The second difference is investigative intuition. Intuition is the gut instinct which one has to channel to the right direction, especially about where your investigation should begin. This is not book-learned, but achieved through experience, and is very important in forensic accounting.
3. Traditional auditing is auditing others’ work to see if they have followed all the documented official policies and procedures of the company. It is based on evidence and not simply a matter of opinion or hunches.
4. Traditional auditing focuses on fault identification and its prevention. Prevention happens because of a good effective internal control system. The auditor sees the effectiveness of those internal control systems.
5. Traditional auditors make use of statistics to determine the probability and identification of material errors, while forensic accountants make use of physical evidence, testified evidence, documented evidence and demo evidence to help identify suspects.
6. In forensic accounting, any kind of evidence could be used as information, whether documentary or electronic, even computer video or audio. However, it needs an expert to interpret and present it. Demonstrative evidence is not real evidence, but just an aid to understanding the rest.
7. Forensic Accountants often serve as expert witnesses for a lawsuits or criminal cases in a court. They need to have applied and reliable principles and methods to prove any wrong-doing.
8. Forensic Accountants also need to possess skill and expertise in 2 fields: Private Investigation and Accounting. These are required to become a good forensic accountant. However, no such requirement in traditional accounting is needed.