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Learning Center Experience
By Monica Hubler, DBAFull-Time Faculty, Kaplan
profession is one that is responsible for the accuracy in presenting financial
statements and to ensure that the statements are free of any misrepresentation.
To ensure accuracy is present, each year these numbers are reviewed and
analyzed by an external auditor.
An auditor is also required to assess the
internal controls of the organization and management and how they are
implemented to protect the assets of the business. These auditors are usually
hired from an outside accounting firm, familiar with the industry, and licensed
professionals. The fraud examiner, on the other hand, is one who is called to
detect fraud. Both an auditor and fraud examiner shares some common attributes,
but their roles are different and it is important to know and understand those
An external auditor is
contracted to provide an independent and objective assessment of the company’s
operations and has a major focus on their internal controls. The auditor helps
to review and analyze how effective the company assesses risk management. In
addition, the auditor is looking to ensure that the financial information under
review is accurate and without material errors. There main purpose it to ensure
all transactions and activities are without error or misrepresentation.
auditor will also evaluate the antifraud and internal controls over financial
reporting and will issue an opinion on management’s assessment of internal
controls. However, auditors will not look for fraud—their focus in the internal
controls and financial statement—but if there is a discrepancy upon review of
any transactions or samples, they should notify management. Additionally, they
should notify management of any red flags that may become evident.
examiners can have an accounting degree (or several), they have a specific
knowledge and resource for fraud detection. Fraud examiners are usually invited
to a company when there is an issue and potential fraud present. These
individuals do not express opinions on the financial statements or assess the
internal controls of the business—they have been asked to help the company to
resolve a specific allegation of fraud. Fraud examiners assess the weakness in
internal controls and locate the perpetrator of the fraud. Their focus is not
on a report for shareholders but reports of the findings, which can eventually
become part of civil or crime proceedings.
As we analyze the
differences between an auditor and a fraud examiner, we see that an audior is
not required to look for fraudulent activities within the accounting records,
but if for some reason there is something that does not match, they do need to
report this irregularity to management. Management, in turn, will make the
decision to take the next step to invite an fraud examiner to review the items
in questions. Another difference is that auditor exams are planned and
preformed yearly, while a fraud examiner is a spontaneously decision. The
auditor is reviewing financial information for accuracy and materiality while
the fraud examiner has a different focus: to determine the fraud and its extent
and gather information for the next step. Each role has a defined skill set and
plays an important role in the accounting field.
Interested in this career? Check out Kaplan University's business resources here.
Monica Hubler, DBA, is a full-time faculty member
at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of
the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.
By Cynthia Waddell, PhD, CPA, CFE
By Geoffrey Vanderpal, Full-Time Faculty
By Richard Carter, PhD
By Stanley W. Self, CFE
By Jerry Taylor
By Rachel Byers, Full-Time Faculty, School of Business
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