My second-favorite accountant in the movies is Oscar Wallace in The Untouchables. While Tiffany Couch probably hasn’t ever had to deal with someone like Al Capone, she has something in common with Oscar – they both use the science of numbers accounting to detect fraudulent schemes. Tiffany is a long-time forensic account and the author of, The Thief In Your Company. Tiffany teaches us that thieves are not the only ones who rationalize. So do their victims.
Who Is Tiffany Couch?
I read Tiffany’s book in 2021. It was one of the most practical books I read leading me to want to learn more. That’s when I reached out to Tiffany’s team for an interview.
Tiffany is the founder of Acuity Forensics. Her firm focuses on fraud investigation, forensic accounting, and litigation support. She released The Thief In Your Company in 2017 which is the focus of this interview.
The Path to Becoming a Forensic Accountant
- The journey was accidental
- Went to school to learn accounting
- Never heard a professor mention fraud in a course
- First job at a CPA firm
- Started firm in 2007
My friends and family told me I was crazy for getting into forensic accounting. They said I should do taxes.Tiffany Couch
The Critical Trait to be a Forensic Accountant
- The curiosity itch
- The itch that is never satisfied
- Rinse and repeat
The Elephant in the Room
- Why doesn’t fraud come up in casual business settings?
- There are two main reasons
- The second one is the main reason
The crime of breached trust is typically worse than the stolen funds. That’s because fraudsters are usually the most trusted person in the company and in the owner’s inner circle.
What is the Fraudster’s Pattern?
- Business owner hates back office
- Brings in an expert who loves the work
- Business owner is hands-off because they don’t like nor understand the back office and accounting
- The expert slowly becomes indespensible and becomes part of the inner circle even if other employees do not care for the person
- Blind trust forms inside the owner
Ten Questions Answered in this Fascinating Converation
- What is the fraud triangle?
- What one action can eliminate up to 85% of all fraud from happening?
- What type of fraud occurs 10% of the time yet has the highest loss of company funds?
- What is one of the first questions you need to ask your insurance agent after you have detected fraud?
- What is the audit myth?
- What is a more effective practice to preventing and detecting fraud?
- What is the culture of honesty or the tone at the top?
- What is the emotional trauma of theft?
- How are fraudsters like kids?
- Why do business owners not like to talk about fraud?
One of my favorite questions I ask every guest is, “What books do you like?” Tiffany rattled off four: