The Sherlock Holmes of the Accounting World

Jul 12, 2023


Sherlock Holmes

The Sherlock Holmes of the Accounting World


In the accounting world, where numbers and ledgers hold the key to financial truths, there exists a breed of professionals who possess astute investigative skills akin to the legendary detective, Sherlock Holmes. Forensic accountancy employs accounting, auditing, and investigative abilities to scrutinise the finances of an individual or business. They are qualified accountants who search for indications of criminal activity and typically serve insurance companies, financial institutions, and law enforcement agencies. Forensic accountants handle tasks like assessing business values and managing bankruptcy and insolvency cases. Through their expertise and relentless determination, forensic accountants expose fraud, untangle financial elaboration, and bring financial justice to the forefront.

Whether you are a financial enthusiast, a curious mind, or a forensic accountant, this blog is for you!

Uncovering financial crimes and promoting integrity

We will delve into a real-life accounting fraud case:

It might come as a surprise to learn that even a prominent UK supermarket like Tesco has had a history of fraudulent activities. In 2014, experts in forensic accounting discovered compelling evidence that exposed the practice of Tesco executives inflating profits through the overstatement of income and the understatement of costs. This incorrect financial reporting happened for a long time to falsely increase stock prices and bonuses for top executives. As a result, UK regulators imposed significant penalties and some high-ranking executives involved in the scandal were charged with crimes. Furthermore, in just one day, the value of Tesco’s shares dropped significantly, experiencing a substantial loss of £2 billion.

This famous example emphasizes the crucial contribution of forensic accountants in revealing the truth and bringing clarity and the situation.


GSI Associates saves the day: Resolving complex financial problems using forensic accounting


In a complex case involving a property and construction group, GSI Associates proved invaluable with their specialist skills. This client, a company interested in buying a family-owned business with a £12 million income, asked for assistance in evaluating the business and determining a fair price. 

GSI started by doing thorough research, using resources from the internet and credit agencies to gather important information. They also created a custom due diligence questionnaire and set up a secure online storage space for data. However, the pace of progress was not as expected because the family-owned business was slow in providing the needed information.

During discussions with the accounts team, it became clear that the business was struggling with cash flow. Further investigation revealed a significant folder with legal claims against the company. After reviewing the work in progress, costs, and contract values, GSI discovered that the business was operating at a loss and was not a viable acquisition. The other option of transferring existing contracts was not possible due to the contract terms.

GSI prepared a detailed report for the client, accurately reflecting the company’s financial situation. This report helped the client save a significant amount of money, highlighting the skills of  GSI’s forensic accounting and due diligence team. 

This case demonstrates how GSI’s services can be an essential resource for organisations seeking investigative review and risk mitigation.

Even though accounting may be perceived as a mundane field, this blog reveals how forensic accountants become the Sherlock Holmes of the financial world, unravelling mysteries, and delivering highly influential information. 


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