|[July 22, 2014]
"Big Data" Listed as Top Issue Facing Forensic and Valuation Professionals in Next Two to Five Years: AICPA Survey
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--
In an environment where the exponential growth of information available
is changing the way many businesses operate, CPAs working in the
forensic and valuation areas have identified big data as the most
pressing issue they'll face in the near future. In addition, 85 percent
of respondents to the 2014
AICPA Survey on International Trends in Forensic and Valuation Services
anticipate an increase in the amount of time they spend on electronic
data analysis in the near future.
One in four (25 percent) respondents selected electronic data analysis -
better known as big data - when asked, open-endedly, to name their top
five issues over the next two to five years. The frequency with which
big data was cited, reflects a business culture with an increasingly
sophisticated understanding of the potential of this information.
However, the sheer volume of data has created an environment where fraud
can become more difficult to detect.
"Big data presents a real opportunity for businesses to glean actionable
insights from information. However, the downside is that it also
presents a risk because the more data available, the harder it is to
spot fraudulent activity, such as the creation of a fictitious employee
or an improper payment to a vendor. To combat this risk, businesses rely
on forensic accountants for their expertise digging deep into the data,
unraveling the work of criminals and detecting that fraud," said Jolene
Fraser, CPA/CFF and chair of the survey committee.
After electronic data analysis, the additional top issues forensic and
valuation professionals cited they anticipated facing over the next two
to five years are:
increased complexity and scrutiny in engagements (20 percent)
competition and fee pressure (14 percent)
regulatory changes (11 percent)
attracting and retaining qualified staff (7 percent).
The survey found that a majority (76 percent) of forensic respondents
expected to experience increased demand over the next two to five years.
Specifically, 30 percent expected demand for their services to increase
up to 25 percent, and an additional 33 percent expected growth of up to
10 percent. On the higher end of the spectrum, nearly 13 percent of
forensic accountants expect demand to spike by 50 percent or higher.
Twenty percent forecast no change in demand, and 4 percent expected a
decrease in demand.
Steady growth was expected in the valuation area as well, more than half
(54 percent) of responents expecting more demand for their services in
the next two to five years. Specifically, 28 percent anticipated demand
to increase by up to 10 percent, with an additional 18 percent
anticipating a bump in demand of up to 25 percent. More than six percent
expected demand to increase by 50 percent or higher. Forty-one percent
forecast no change in demand, and six percent foresaw a decrease in
demand for their services.
"The increasing demand we're seeing for forensic and valuation services
performed by CPAs shows the growth in these areas is poised to continue
in the near future," said Jeannette
Koger, CPA, CGMA, vice president of member specialization and
credentialing at the AICPA. "Businesses and consumers realize that the
CPA combined with the AICPA's Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) and
Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) credentials signifies a highly
qualified professional with the skill-set to get the job done."
Indeed, when respondents were asked what credentials they require of
those providing forensic accounting services to possess, a CPA was the
most frequently required credential. The CPA, coupled with the CFF
credential, provides the most desirable combination of credentials
in the areas of: fraud prevention, detection and response; financial
statement misrepresentation; damages calculations; bankruptcy; and
electronic data analysis. In addition, the CPA coupled with the ABV
credential was the most widely desired combination of credentials
for valuation engagements.
The 2014 AICPA Survey on International Trends in Forensic and Valuation
Services was open to members of CPA Canada, in addition to AICPA
members, for the first time. The survey, which was conducted from
September 12 to October 25, 2013, contained a total of 182 qualified
The full survey is available
About the AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services Section
The Forensic and Valuation Services (FVS) Section is a membership
section within the AICPA that represents CPAs that provide financial
forensic accounting and business valuation services. FVS Section members
represent many areas of practice, including: bankruptcy, insolvency and
reorganization; dispute advisory services; economic damages calculations
and due diligence; electronic data analysis, employee stock ownership
plans; estate and gift; fair value; family law; financial statement
misrepresentation; fraud prevention, detection and response; and
The FVS Section develops and grades the Certified in Financial Forensics
(CFF) and Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) Examinations and offers
the CFF and ABV specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on
financial forensic accounting and business valuation. In 2007, the AICPA
issued valuation standards, Statement on Standards for Valuation
Services No. 1: Valuation of a Business, Business Ownership
Interest, Security, or Intangible Asset.
About the AICPA
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world's largest member
association representing the accounting profession, with more than
394,000 members in 128 countries and a 125-year heritage of serving the
public interest. AICPA members represent many areas of practice,
including business and industry, public practice, government, education
The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing
standards for audits of private companies, nonprofit organizations,
federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform
CPA Examination and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who
concentrate on personal financial planning; fraud and forensics;
business valuation; and information technology. Through a joint venture
with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA (News - Alert)), it has
established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)
designation to elevate management accounting globally.
The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and
Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at aicpa.org/press.
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