Written by Bob Lindquist

Forensic Investigative Accountant Mindset Includes

“…Training the mind to see both the doughnut and the hole”

“…Often, the fraud auditor does not know what he is looking for or even why, other than something looks suspicious or out of place. So to be overly organized when doing fraud audit work may be a handicap. You need a lot of freedom and space to let your imagination run wild. You need to poke holes into everything including your own pet theories and biases. Do not accept anything anyone says as gospel truth. Do not assume that any document is what it purports to be. When conflicts between statements of witnesses occur, do not take sides or prejudge their veracity. Keep an open mind. The proof of fraud is rarely when and what you thought when you first began the audit. Preconceptions are dangerous. They invariably lead you down the wrong path…”


To seek relevant information whether or not supportive of your client’s position obtained from persons and documents within the financial world and to report findings in an independent and objective manner.


To have a knowledge of fraud characteristics with its many varieties and respective red flags

To understand somewhat the legal process

To understand that the forensic standard of proof is governed by the Court of law

To understand the need for independence and objectivity and the concept of ‘benefit of doubt’

To understand where your expertise ends, particularly in specialty industries

To be aware of your enemy in the form of bias and prejudice

To be naturally curious and intuitive and to maintain healthy skepticism of information received from persons and documents until third party verification

To understand you are re-creating history by accumulating puzzle pieces of information in random sequence

To understand prior to commencing the investigation how to prepare the initial plan of inquiry and related fraud theory

To maintain a free floating mind in order to identify all possible interpretations of events and explanations

To have the ability to move from a study of minute detail to conduct a big picture interpretation of new findings

To identify investigative priorities from developing findings in order to pursue the most efficient means to either support or refute a concern or allegation

To document the timing of events and the inferences to be drawn there from, especially in circumstantial matters as to persons’ possible knowledge

To understand the interview process, to know how to identify chemistry in a group setting including those in control and eventually potential rollovers in a live investigation

To be able to establish your creditability as in investigator during a live investigation

To understand that the passing of time can be an effective investigative technique in a live investigation

To know how to identify persons in a developing investigation who might be culpable so you, your client and they are protected

To understand the concept of a pattern of conduct and personal and/or business conduct that is not in the normal course as possible indicators of the hidden reality of fraud

To give no priority to issues of materiality and reputation and to be very cautious with the use of a sampling approach as an investigative technique

To understand how to work in foreign cultures, if applicable