19 Jul

Keeping Forensic Reports Simple

Making complex transactions easy to understand is no small task, but it is part of the job of any good fraud investigator. You can find the most earth-shattering proof of fraud, but if you cannot articulate your findings in a report that others can understand, your investigation results are not worth much.

Use graphs, charts, and tables to help illustrate your points. Even though you may not need a graph or chart to demonstrate your findings, consider that the reader of your report might benefit from it. Remember that people learn and comprehend in different ways, and that fact could be very important if your case ever goes in front of a jury.

One juror might understand your written words best, so it is important to make the report very reader-friendly with short, well-organized paragraphs. Other jurors might understand the most by listening to your court testimony, which should support and reiterate the written report. Other jurors might be most receptive to pictures or charts that demonstrate what you have found.

It is important to create a logical flow to the report, either by working through the case chronologically or by using some other logical ordering, such as walking through it by entity or person involved. The narrative of the work completed, the conclusions of the investigators, and the evidence to support it should be presented in a fashion that builds up to the conclusion.

It is very effective to work through all the points that suggest a fraud was committed. Many times one “smoking gun” is not necessarily found. Rather, there are many small pieces to the puzzle, which, in their totality, point to fraud. That build-up can be very important in supporting your opinions and conclusions.

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