Microsoft Excel provides some easy to use tools that can greatly enhance and expedite the fraud audit process. With all detective work, you want to be able to sift through a large volume of data and utilize a tool that is adequately flexible for you to perform immediate investigations of anything questionable. Excel provides a number of different tools however we are going to focus on a couple of extremely useful ones: Auto filter, Arrays as well as a couple of extremely useful functions that include TEXT(),WEEKDAY(), IFERROR(), IFNA(), MATCH() and MOD(). Another tool used in fraud audits that does not necessarily require Excel, but can be used in conjunction with Excel, is Benford’s Law. Benford’s law is based on an observation that in certain large data sets, certain digits appear more frequently than others. By comparing the distribution of first digits in some accounting data, this tool can assist you in determining where more investigation is necessary by helping to pinpoint where data may have been contrived through fraud. There is an accompanying Excel file so that you can walk through all the exercises. Answer sheets immediately follow.
Fraud Audit Techniques using Excel. Excel Arrays. Excel Text Functions. Benford’s Law.
CPAs, controllers, accountants, financing professionals, business owners, managers and others responsible for prevention, detection, or evaluation of potential fraud.
Recognize and identify when Auto Filter and conditional formatting may be utilized to highlight exceptions. Recognize how to use VLOOKUP and IFERROR/IFNA functions when comparing lists. Recognize different array formulas, lookup functions as well as a few other functions that are useful for comparing lists and displaying data. Identify and eliminate duplicate items. Identify gaps in a sequence using Excel. Recognize Benford’s Law and how to use it.
Joseph Helstrom, Western CPE
Joseph Helstrom, CPA, is a partner at CFO Resources, LLC, a company focused on training and courseware for CPAs. He’s also the owner of Mill Creek Publishing LLC. Joe has over 30 years of experience as a CPA in both public accounting and industry, with extensive experience in financial reporting and analysis, treasury, tax, information technology, legal and regulatory matters, and strategic planning.
After graduation from Butler University with a degree in accounting, Joe got his start at Ernst & Young. Subsequent to that, he has served for several different companies as a chief financial officer; director of treasury and tax; controller; and manager of financial planning, reporting, and analysis.
Joe and his wife, Patricia McCarthy, produce self-study courses for Western CPE and have published articles in Missouri and Texas CPA society publications titled “Incorporating Excel Arrays into Your Audit Plan.”
Non-Member Price $67.00
Member Price $58.00