Reviewing your bank statement periodically and engaging a Forensic Accountant
Recently some commercial banks published names of companies and individuals whose loans with them were not performing with balances against such customers. Our experience has been that in most cases, the balances will include spurious, illegal, unauthorized, unlawful and unacceptable deductions and debits in those accounts swelling up the debt balances and therefore charges that are unsustainable. Yes, as an entrepreneur, your business may have been flourishing. Your transactions volumes have grown. You may also have taken loans from a commercial bank to support the success your business have achieved.
Unfortunately, you were too busy to constantly review your bank statement periodically and perform diligent reconciliation. The business may suffer the problem of not being able to service its loans and therefore be exposed to shocks of being publicly exposed as irresponsible with loan repayments.
Reviewing your bank statements on a periodic basis will help you to achieve the following
- Banks are looking for additional income to pay to their shareholders. They have been pressed by regulatory authorities which has forced lower profit-making activities on them. They will therefore be hard-pressed to passing spurious, bogus and unauthorized charges into your account. They will only reverse such when you review your bank statement and complain.
- The Company will be able to spot deposit patterns, cheque deposits, receipts for which goods or services may have exchanged, current balances, cheques issues yet to be cashed by the beneficiaries, irregular movement of funds in and out of the account, cheques deposited that may have not been credited, returned cheques for the company to request the issuer to give a replacement immediately.
- The Company will be able review charges to its bank accounts by its bankers. The Company will be able to confirm whether they are in line with the terms of contract. They will review same with correspondence with the bank on agreed charges, offer of credit facilities, standard or Central Bank of Nigeria approved guide to Bank Charges.
- The review may also indicate where they may be need for the company to move funds from its current account to a fixed deposit account for period as short as 7days and earn interests
- Should there be any unauthorized withdrawal or suspect entries, a prompt review will reveal it and therefore remedies can be pursued by the company by fast notification of the bank
Yes, it could happen that your preliminary review can indicate that your bank may have illegally stolen funds from your bank account in the name of charges that are out rightly unauthorized, illegal or bogus as we have seen on the field. Should not have the technically expertise to do a forensic accounting review of the bank statement, you may get external help from engaging Forensic Accountants who are persons who make use of their accounting, auditing and investigative skills in conducting an investigation. They are able to communicate financial information clearly and concisely as required by the Courts.
You are better off engaging a Forensic Accountant early enough when disputes occur because they are specially trained to recognize anomalies, discrepancies, error or fraud in your bank statement and are equipped to provide litigation support to you.
Similarly, the Forensic Accountant is equipped with skills that positions him to do a thorough investigation, reviews, present the outcome in form suitable for the law courts to accept.
Moreover, they are knowledgeable in accounting, legal and court processes.
Lastly, Forensic Accountants are trained to be apply financial analysis techniques, communicate their findings in reports that are acceptable to the Courts.
Finally, Forensic Accountants can also work with you as expert witnesses in litigations that require their expertise.