In this chapter:
- Moving Forward as a Company
- Preventing Future Frauds
- Marketing a Fraud Investigation Practice
- Competing with Other Firms
- Conducting a Global Investigation
- Professional Liability Issues
- Reducing Fraud with Investigations
Practitioners are often interested in the business side of fraud investigations. How does one start and market a fraud investigation or forensic accounting practice? From the book:
A book on fraud investigations would not be complete without a discussion of how to actually find investigations to do. Those working in-house for a corporation are not going to have that problem. They already have a captive audience. But those who are working as consultants are going to need a client base if they want to investigate anything. Many fraud investigators have the luxury of working for a firm with a wide client base. But plenty of firms are just branching out into fraud investigation and could use some tips on developing a client list.
One of the keys to developing a client base lies in defining the services of the fraud investigation practice. It is easier to market the firm and secure new business when the range of services is narrowed down. Too often, firms generically promote fraud investigation services. As we have already learned, many types of fraud investigations can be done, including financial statement fraud, corporate embezzlement, bribery cases, insurance fraud, and investment scams. Corporate disputes like arguments over contracts or shareholder disagreements can quickly lead to fraud allegations as well.
Some fraud investigators specialize within certain industries, such as healthcare or financial services. Those industries may require specialized knowledge to effectively investigate allegations of fraud, so it makes sense that some fraud investigators concentrate on one or two industries. It is important to be sure that you are clear on where your firm’s capabilities lie. What work does your staff and management enjoy doing and at what are they most competent? Where can you build your niche and establish a reputation? What connections do you already have that can assist your business-building efforts in a particular area?
The market for fraud investigation services can be further divided into a variety of clients who might contract with your firm. Clients could include attorneys, corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or individuals. For example, you may work primarily with attorneys who are litigators at medium-to-large firms. Their work is typically done for corporations that have suspicions of fraud, and they will identify and retain an expert to investigate those allegations.
Other fraud investigators may choose to work closely with government agencies, either in regulatory matters or criminal prosecutions. Still other fraud experts may choose to work with individuals on consumer fraud issues or family law cases. You can see that the choices are almost endless, and it would be difficult to effectively market a firm’s services without narrowing down the list of potential clients. It is much easier to craft and deliver a marketing message to only one or two key audiences.
I have found that directing my marketing and advertising efforts toward a narrow audience has been the most effective. I have tried broad marketing initiatives and did not get a whole lot of results from them. When I have narrowed my focus and advertised in industry-specific publications, I have had better results. The results can be attributed to advertisements that spoke more directly to the audience, mentioning specific types of cases or situations with which they might need assistance.