If you’ve been listening for a while, you know I believe there’s hardly anything that’s NOT creative. I love to talk to people from so-called “non-creative” professions to find out how those perceptions are wrong. Accounting is not something most people associate with creativity—except in the familiar, negative sense—but I knew it had to be, so I contacted Lynda Schwartz. Lynda not only is an accountant but was a partner in a big-four firm’s fraud investigation and dispute services practice. She’s taken part in a wide variety of financial investigations, has served as an expert witness in associated court cases, and runs the forensic accounting curriculum at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She’s also my cousin.
Lynda set me straight right away on my very narrow idea of what accounting really entails, before moving on to what an accounting investigation looks like, how fraud usually happens, the role of an expert accounting witness in court, and what she’s learned from teaching at UMass. She also explains why she hates the idea of “creative accounting” with such a passion, and would prefer to think of accounting as a curiosity-based practice instead.
I try in the course of the work to hold, as long as possible, two competing thoughts in mind: What if it’s all bad? What if it’s all good?Lynda Schwartz
Isenberg School of Management Forensic Accounting Program
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