Expert Forensic Accountants Employ Sophisticated Data Analytics

Supporting civil litigation with data analytics

An attorney routinely creates a logical case narrative to present to a judge and/or a jury. Many times, the basis for this narrative depends on the conclusions that can be drawn from large amounts of data. At NAFA, we know how to organize and summarize data, and how to draw valid statistical conclusions. We are experts at determining the appropriate analyses, and at explaining conclusions in plain, uncomplicated language. We unravel complex data sets and present clear arguments for your legal team, opposing counsel, or the triers of fact in court.

Our analysis, and our readily comprehensible, commonsense presentation can:

  • Inform and help you plan your trial strategy
  • Set the parameters for your negotiations
  • Support your argument regarding damages

We analyze large data sets, both financial and nonfinancial, for a wide range of civil disputes, including:

  • Fraud Investigations
  • Wage and hour class actions
  • Economic damages (e.g., business interruption)
  • Quality of Earnings engagements
  • Post-acquisition disputes
  • Personal injury and wrongful death cases

Finally, our expert witnesses have the skills, knowledge, experience, education, and specialized training to defend our analytics under rigorous examination. Giving convincing and composed testimony, we can clearly explain the methodology we used to arrive at our conclusions.

Using data analytics to uncover fraud

Drawing on decades of experience in fraud investigations, our NAFA team knows that fraud does not happen in a vacuum. Often, traditional accounting, as well as other business records, will unknowingly capture data on the type of behavior that coexists with fraud. Our NAFA investigators analyze this raw data to determine how prevalent the malign activity is, and where in your organization it is happening. From there, we can often pinpoint how fraud is occurring and who is most likely responsible. We can advise your legal team on the necessary steps to prove the case and take corrective action.

Mining company records for greater understanding of performance and vulnerability

Data analytics is a broad term that encompasses a number of statistical tools and procedures designed to gain greater insights from the information that businesses traditionally record. These insights often come from identifying variables that are correlated or confounded. At North American Forensic Accounting PC, we understand the importance of mining data to discover connections and relationships. We use data analytics to organize, summarize, and numerically and graphically describe data, to suggest where business productivity is lagging, and where fraud could be occurring. Using this information, we can help our clients design a plan of action that targets company weaknesses and vulnerabilities. If legal steps are necessary, we can provide evidentiary support from the data, as well as expert testimony explaining the analyses and conclusions.

Helping your company play “Moneyball”

One of the more famous applications of data analytics is the “Moneyball” revolution that took place in professional baseball at the turn of the 21st century. As portrayed in the book and movie, the Moneyball philosophy enabled a small-market team with a low payroll to consistently outcompete many large-market, big-spending teams. The General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, Billy Beane relied on a “Sabermetric” analysis of baseball statistics that showed some highly valued player assets and strategic practices did not contribute to winning ballgames as often as the experts imagined. In fact, many tactics cherished by old-timers, such as attempting to bunt a runner into scoring position or steal a base, generally failed to contribute to a win. This meant, among other things, that teams were paying too much for players with overrated assets and underrated shortcomings. Beane’s As enjoyed a solid run of success until other teams caught on and imitated their process.

Could your business benefit from a Moneyball approach? At NAFA, our forensic accounting experts regularly perform in-depth analyses of business records. What we uncover exposes process weaknesses that delay production, hamper billing, incur customer dissatisfaction, trigger unnecessary expenditures, and place a stranglehold on cash flow. But our team goes beyond exposing weaknesses; we introduce our clients to current best practices that help to resolve their problems.

Types of data analytics used in business

Data analytics fall into four basic categories:

  • Descriptive — This analysis portrays activity that has occurred over a given period of time.
  • Diagnostic — This analysis searches for a cause-and-effect relationship between sets of data.
  • Predictive — This analysis attempts to use past performance and current trends to predict future events.
  • Prescriptive — This analysis suggests possible courses of action in response to predictions for the future.

Companies rely on data analytics for a wide range of business purposes:

  • Enhance efficiency
  • Detect process weaknesses
  • Improve cash flow
  • Optimize the workforce
  • Design a business development plan
  • Detect and investigate fraud

Whatever your purposes, NAFA can provide a reliable analysis of your data, so you can achieve your business goals.

Proficiency in a wide range of analytical tools

As data analytics have evolved, the software industry has responded with an array of reliable programs that speed various types of analysis. At NAFA, our highly trained team is adept at using a range of programs, including:

  • CaseWare IDEA — This robust tool enables us to analyze huge datasets with great efficiency, so we don’t have to rely on sampling to offer mere extrapolations. IDEA Script allows us to create custom programming to tailor the analysis to our clients’ needs.
  • ACL — Another powerful data analysis tool that provides immediate visibility into a company’s critical transactional data.
  • Minitab – This sophisticated software package is used for creating descriptive graphs and data analysis, including hypothesis testing, regression analysis, and analysis of variance.
  • SAS – For complex projects, SAS offers its own programming language and allows for greater manipulation of data and the production of sophisticated reports.
  • R – This Open-Source programming language and highly customizable statistical environment is used for some analyses and graphical presentations.
  • Mathematica – This software package is used for complex mathematical calculations.
  • Microsoft Excel — For smaller analytics projects, we utilize some of the advanced features of this popular spreadsheet program to organize data. The scripting function allows us to write macros to perform custom calculations and interact with other software applications.
  • Artificial Intelligence — While NAFA does not rely on AI at present, we are beginning to integrate AI into our processes, and we expect to get greater use from it as the technology becomes more available and prevalent throughout many industries.

Reliable data analytics can assist your business in numerous ways. At NAFA, we employ powerful tools to examine your data and identify strategies that can fuel future success.

Contact North American Forensic Accounting PC to inquire about data analytics services

North American Forensic Accounting PC performs data analytics for companies of all sizes across the United States. To learn more, call us at 347-286-4860 or contact one of our offices online to schedule an appointment. NAFA serves clients from offices throughout the United States, including in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, and the Tampa Bay Area.