12. What standards does a Forensic Accountant need to follow?

In Canada, CPAs performing investigative and forensic accounting engagements need to be aware of and follow Standard Practices for Investigative and Forensic Accounting Engagements (SPIFA).

This document is available for download through CPA Canada .

SPIFA provides standards in engagement acceptance, planning and scope of work, information collection and analysis, file documentation, reporting and expert testimony.

The AICPA Forensic and Valuations Services Executive Committee (FVSEC) has now issued a Statement on Standards for Forensic Services No. 1 (SSFS No. 1).

SSFS No. 1 applies to all members and member firms of the AICPA including CPAs with the designation Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) for engagements accepted on or after January 1, 2020.

SSFS No. 1 establishes standards for Litigation and Investigation engagements. A Litigation engagement is defined in the standard as an actual or potential legal or regulatory proceeding before a trier of fact or regulatory body as an expert witness, consultant, neutral, mediator, or arbitrator in connection with the resolution of disputes between parties. An Investigation engagement is defined as a matter conducted in response to specific concerns of wrongdoing in which the member is engaged to perform procedures to collect, analyze, evaluate or interpret certain evidential matter to assist the stakeholders in reaching a conclusion on the merits of the concerns.

SSFS No. 1 provides standards in professional competence; due professional care; planning and supervision; sufficient relevant data; integrity; objectivity; understanding with client; communication with client; contingent fee arrangements in expert witness, Litigation engagements; and opining as to the ultimate conclusion of fraud.

SSFS No. 1 is available for download through the AICPA.

Standards protect the public interest by ensuring consistency in the performance of forensic accounting assignments and by ensuring that minimum standards of practice are met. In addition, practice standards provide a framework for the application of professional judgment in conducting forensic accounting assignments.