Financial forensic engagements may fall into several categories. For example:
- Economic damages calculations, whether suffered through tort or breach of contract
- Tax fraud
- Money laundering
- Post-acquisition disputes such as breaches of warranties
- Bankruptcy, insolvency, and reorganization
- Securities fraud
- Business valuation
- Computer forensics/e-discovery.
Forensic accountants often assist in professional negligence claims where they are assessing and commenting on the work of other professionals.
They are also engaged in marital and family law of analyzing lifestyle for spousal support purposes, determining income available for child support and equitable distribution.
Engagements relating to criminal matters typically arise in the aftermath of fraud.
They frequently involve the assessment of accounting systems and accounts presentation (in essence, assessing to what extent the numbers reflect reality).
Some accountants specialize in forensic analytics which is the procurement and analysis of electronic data to reconstruct, detect, or otherwise support a claim of financial fraud. For example, forensic analytics may be used to review an employee's purchasing card activity to assess whether any of the purchases were diverted for personal use.
The main steps in forensic analytics are: data collection, data preparation, data analysis, reporting.