The training of a forensic accountant in South Africa
Van Romburgh, Johannes Daniel
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Although the financial and social implications of the recent major corporate scandals like Enron, Parmalat and Fidentia (Cameron, 2007) were extremely severe and the reputation of the external auditor scarred, one could state that never before was the role of the external auditor so much under the spotlight and the global focus on fraud and corruption so intense. So, for example was the passing of the Sarbanes Oxley Act and S AS 99 in the United States merely as a direct consequence of a post-Enron remedial action (Silverstone and Sheetz, 2004:11-14). Not only globally, but also in South Africa, the focus shifted from mere expressions of opinions on financial statements to a greater awareness, detection and control of commercial crime. This is substantiated by what appears to be the large growth in private forensic investigative and accounting groups, increasing governmental investigative units and extensive media coverage of fraud and corruption scandals (i.e. Shaik, Leisurenet and Fidentia). The objective of this study is to highlight the important role(s) and prominence of South African forensic accountants through a conceptualization and clarification of: • the term "forensic accountant", • the services rendered by forensic accountants and the demand for forensic-related services, and • the importance of perceived benefits of forensic accounting training. The main objective of this study is therefore to determine a core curriculum content of topics of knowledge and skills required, which is essential to the training of a forensic accountant in South Africa. From the literature review and empirical survey, a definition for a forensic accountant is proposed, it was found that the future demand and interest in forensic-related services will increase, that benefits obtained from forensic accounting education were significant and a core curriculum of 46 forensic accounting topics were identified and ranked in terms of importance.
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