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Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations Hardcover – June 7, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0470890462 ISBN-10: 0470890460 Edition: 1st

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Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations + Benford's Law: Applications for Forensic Accounting, Auditing, and Fraud Detection + Financial Forensics Body of Knowledge, + Website
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470890460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470890462
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


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From the Inside Flap

Forensic Analytics Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations

Forensic analytics is the use of electronic data to reconstruct or detect financial fraud. The process of forensic analytics is made up of data collection and preparation, data analysis, and the preparation of a fraud report and the possible presentation of the results.

In Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations, author Mark Nigrini reviews the use of Microsoft Access and Excel in a forensic setting, together with many rigorous analytical procedures to detect employee fraud, biases, and other irregularities including errors. The book includes a comprehensive chapter on financial statement fraud, and the concluding chapter on credit/debit purchasing card fraud shows an authentic dashboard used by a Fortune 100 company.

Nigrini devotes three chapters to a review of the use of Access, Excel, and PowerPoint in a forensic setting. The next eleven chapters discuss data interrogation tests that could be used in a forensic setting to detect employee fraud, biases, and errors. In each chapter, the tests are discussed in general terms and are then demonstrated using case studies with real data. In addition, the steps needed to run the tests are illustrated with screenshots from Access and Excel. Two chapters review, with examples, a risk-scoring technique that can be used to score divisions, agents, or locations for fraud risk.

A full chapter presents various tests, along with real-world examples and case studies, to detect financial statement fraud. The concluding chapter is a case study showing an analysis of purchasing card data using selected tests from the prior chapters, and a presentation of the findings.

The companion website ( has all the data tables used in the book, available for download. Along with notes and updates related to the book, the website also includes end-of-chapter problems and assignments for use by instructors, together with PowerPoint slides for presentations.

More About the Author

Mark Nigrini, Ph.D. is a professor at The College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia where he teaches auditing and forensic accounting.
Mark is a Chartered Accountant and holds a B. Com. (Hons) from the University of Cape Town and an MBA from the University of Stellenbosch. His Ph.D. in Accounting is from the University of Cincinnati where he discovered Benford's Law. His dissertation was titled "The Detection of Income Tax Evasion through an Analysis of Digital Distributions." His minor was in statistics and some of the advanced concepts studied in those statistics classes are used in this book.
It took a few years for his work to be noticed by corporate America. The breakthrough came in 1995 when his work was publicized in an article titled "He's got their number: Scholar uses math to foil financial fraud" in The Wall Street Journal. This was followed by several other articles on his work and on Benford's Law in the national and international media. He has also been interviewed on the radio and television. His radio interviews have included the BBC in London, and NPR in the United States. His television interviews have included an appearance on NBC's Extra. His most recent TV appearance was on the Green-Eyed Monsters episode in the Investigative Discovery Channel's Evil Twins series. Mark has several videos on YouTube and these can be found by searching for Mark Nigrini.
Mark has published papers on Benford's Law, auditing, and accounting in academic journals such as The Journal of the American Taxation Association, Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, The Journal of Accounting Education, The Review of Accounting and Finance, Journal of Forensic Accounting, and The Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting. He has also published in scientific journals such as Mathematical Geology and pure mathematics journals such as the International Journal of Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences. He has also published articles in practitioner journals such as Internal Auditor and the Journal of Accountancy. A fraud related article will be published in the August issue of The Journal of Accountancy. His current research addresses forensic and continuous monitoring techniques and advanced theoretical work on Benford's Law.
Mark has presented many academic and professional seminars for accountants in the United States and Canada with the audiences primarily comprising internal auditors, external auditors, and forensic accountants in the public and private sectors. He has presented a number of association conference plenary or keynote sessions with his talk titled "Benford's Law: The facts, the fun, and the future." The release date of Forensic Analytics coincided with a plenary session that was delivered by Mark at NACVA's Annual Consultants' Conference in San Diego, CA on June 9, 2011. Mark has also presented seminars overseas with professional presentations in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Sweden, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand. A recent presentation was in Zurich, Switzerland and a forthcoming workshop will be held in Bahrain (November, 2014). He can be contacted at ForensicAnalytics at Other contact information is given on his website

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Being a novice, I found the text easily digestible and very informative.
The book covers using MS Access, Excel and PowerPoint for forensic investigation or presentation of forensic analysis.
Robert Notman
Executive seeking a comprehensive overview of continuous monitoring are well advised to buy the book.
Darrell D. Dorrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Drake Mandrake on June 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I found this to be a helpful book. The data analysis tests in Forensic Accounting can be used as high-level reasonableness tests to determine whether private or public sector data is free of fraud, errors or biases. While the tests can't guarantee that everything is clean and correct, they will detect the larger and more obvious errors. The author starts with some high-level overview tests and then drills deeper into the data to find irregular patterns. The Relative Size Factor tests and the Same-Same-Different test have been used with much success in detecting problems with accounts payable data.

Benford's Law fans will not be disappointed--the book includes four full chapters on Benford's Law and it is also covered in three other chapters. The final chapter on purchasing card fraud has interesting examples of actual fraud, an Excel dashboard, and an example of a real analysis of real company data. The book has tests that will be new and valuable to seasoned forensic accountants as well as some basic tests that will be immediately usable for beginners. If you have Excel or Access and your own data, then you could probably use many of the tests in the book right away. This book shows how to run most of the tests in both programs. It should be useful to forensic accountants, auditors, and other accounting and finance types who work with data.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Duncan Williamson on March 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations (Wiley Corporate F&A)I bought this book to help me with a course I was about to run on detecting fraud. I know Excel very well, I know Access a bit, I am very familiar with statistics. I have been a fan of Benford's Law for several years and have even had articles on the topic published.

Nevertheless, I knew that Dr Nigrini was one of THE leading lights in this topic and I have to say I was not disappointed. I bought the Kindle version of the book so I have to say that I cannot comment on the layout of the book and so on because Kindles are not the best place to see perfect layouts!

The contents are good and the progression of topics is good and logical. I have to say, however, that personally speaking, I didn't need the information on Access and PowerPoint but I can see why they were included.

I did learn a few things from this systematic study of forensic analytics and was pleased to see Dr Nigrini's views on how to deal with results from a Benford's Law analysis. Learning these things made my own understanding and presentations a little better.

I have to say that I didn't have a lot of time to consider the mantissa arc and Kolmogorov-Smirnoff tests but I liked the correlation test: nice, simple and easy to use and explain.

There is a batch of cases to work on, heating oil sales, stock market information and construction data. There is even a very large database of invoice information to work with (approx 189,000 invoices) that will stretch your Excel resources but which will be useful for anyone wanting to work with a real data set.

Overall I found the explanations nice and clear and for anyone looking for a good introduction to the topic, this is a good start.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert Notman on October 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Nigrini's book on forensic analytics is nothing short of amazing especially for those of us that haven't used statistics or analysis since high school or college. I'll admit that when I first received the book I was disappointed that there was only one chapter (18) that deals specifically with purchasing cards (PCards). However, as I began to read the book I realized that all of the other chapters help you understand your PCard records and are explanation of tools to help you perform analysis.

The book covers using MS Access, Excel and PowerPoint for forensic investigation or presentation of forensic analysis. The author also includes many tests that you can apply to look for fraud (misuse/abuse). You also have access to a website that has a lot of examples and data from the various chapters to help you understand the text.

Reading the book was my first introduction in using Benford's Law and applying it to card data. It was interesting to see my data reviewed with Benford's Law. I haven't attempted to apply the other tests to my data yet, but will as I complete reading the book.

If you are a Purchasing Card Administrator interested in mitigating risk, this is a book that can help you understand how to review the data.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kurt S. Schulzke on November 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
No auditor or forensic accountant really knows the craft without absorbing Mark Nigrini's highly readable, entertaining and insightful tome, Forensic Analytics. The book's major contribution is a suite of mathematical tests dubbed the "Nigrini Cycle," an amazingly easy tool for quickly zeroing in on possible waste, fraud, and inefficiency in A/R, A/P, travel expenses, payroll, Medicare billings, and P-cards, to name a few.

Financial analysts of all stripes -- external auditors, forensic investigators, and internal auditors -- not only can but should read this book, as a matter of professional due diligence. I love how Mark walks the reader, screen-by-screen, through the Nigrini Cycle using MS Excel and Access. Sr. Manager - Partner types who think themselves incapable of using Access might want to reconsider. With Nigrini's help, MS Access really is like falling off a log. (Bad pun that only readers of the book can appreciate.)

After dabbling in Benford's Law in the summer semester, 2012, now, in the fall semester, the use (not just the reading) of Forensic Analytics is a requirement of my Forensic Accounting students in Kennesaw State University's Master of Accounting program. With the Nigrini Cycle in their professional tool-kit, our grads will have a significant leg up on the competition -- until everyone else catches on, as they certainly should.

Back in the summer, I introduced Benford's Law to a local large-firm audit partner. This morning, he told me that they have now used Benford's Law on some of their audit engagements. Describing the experience, his face lit up as if he were describing a favorite golf club. "This thing really works! And the clients love it." In the auditing business, a math tool that triggers such a response is something special. No, I am not writing on commission. Yes, you will love this book and what it does for your understanding of numbers, especially financial ones.
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