In some fraud cases – particularly complex ones – it may be necessary to seek help from a private sector professional such as an accountant, solicitor, and/or investigator.
It is important that you choose a professional with the right skills, experience and knowledge to help you. Check that they are suitably qualified and members of a recognised professional body. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always get an estimate of costs at the outset.
Most professionals are usually willing to spend up to 30 minutes providing free advice to help assess your chances of mounting a successful case.
A forensic accountant investigates fraud and other forms of financial crime (including money laundering) on behalf of their client and also gives expert testimony in court.
Some forensic accountants are also Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs).
Be aware that anyone can call themselves an accountant without any training or experience. However a qualified accountant will belong to a recognised professional body and be required to maintain high standards of ethical and professional conduct.
You can find a chartered accountant through the following bodies:
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)
- Chartered Accountants Ireland
- The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
A barrister is a legal practitioner who provides specialist legal advice and advocacy, and represents their clients in the higher courts. Barristers often specialise in particular areas of law such as civil fraud, criminal fraud, corporate crime or the proceeds of crime. Not all barristers can accept instructions directly from the public and in many cases you will have to instruct a barrister by going to a solicitor first. Most barristers are self-employed and work in offices called ‘chambers’.
In Scotland an advocate performs a similar role to a barrister in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Most advocates are based in the Advocates Library in Edinburgh or work in offices called ‘stables’.
You can find a barrister or advocate through the following bodies:
A fraud investigator is usually involved in identifying (detecting) fraud and examining (investigating) how it took place. Fraud investigators sometimes specialise in particular sectors or fields (such as financial services or public health) and may have backgrounds in policing, accounting, or corporate investigations.
Some fraud investigators are also Certified Fraud Examiners and/or forensic accountants.
A solicitor is a legal practitioner who deals with legal matters on behalf of their clients and represents them in the lower courts. Solicitors often specialise in particular areas of law such as civil fraud, criminal fraud, corporate crime, insolvency or the proceeds of crime.
You can find a solicitor through the following bodies: