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Forensic Accounting

You’ve been retained as a consultant to assist a company that owns a chain of grocery stores with 150 stores in the U.S and Canada. The company’s CFO and Director of Internal Audit have asked you to consult with them on some appraoches to analyzing data. They have two reasons for reaching out.

1. The company's legal counsel and an investigation team are currently working on an internal investigation of an allegation of fraud in the New England distribution center. A whistleblower called the hotline and said that the director of the warehouse was diverting high-value merchandise. The company is trying to figure out what data approaches would be helpful in this investigation.

The internal audit director has started analyzing data, but is finding it hard. The financial data and the inventory data are on separate subledgers. 40 of the stores in New England were acquired in an acquisition 18 months ago. The data for these stores are still on a separate inventory platform. When the internal audit director started analyzing this on Excel, there were so many potential anomalies that it would take hundreds of hours to investigate them all. They need help with this immediate problem.

2. The company is also looking to improve proactive anti-fraud controls going forward. Because the data is in lots of different platforms, they are struggling with how to be proactive. Their approach to internal audit is to take sample transactions in high risk areas, but the company is really looking to leverage technology to have greater coverage at lower cost.

What do you suggest?

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