Information Requests: Making Your List and Checking It Twice!

By Sarah Malcom

December 20, 2013

It’s that time of the year — time for holiday food, decorations, and of course time to make our wish lists! As we’re jotting down those things we just can’t live without in 2014, what better time than now for a reminder of what our fraud examination information “wish lists” should include. At the onset of any case, let’s remember that we will not receive what we do not request. It’s better to ask for too much than to miss something important for lack of asking.

Document requests should be specific, detailed, and inclusive of anything a fraud examiner might possibly need in the course of the fraud examination. Requests should also specify the information format. In today’s increasingly digital environment, the term “document” is becoming more and more archaic; it is essential that we remember that certain information may not exist (or be feasibly analyzed) on paper. What we commonly call a “document request” might be more accurately termed an “information and data request.” In fact, almost any analysis that we perform can likely be more efficiently conducted with electronic data, in its native format, rather than paper documents. It is therefore essential to ensure that requests for data and information encompass everything you might need in the format that will be most efficient for your fraud examination.

Depending on the facts and circumstances, the list below includes some items you’ll want to consider including on your next fraud examination “wish list.”

• Accounting system backup file
• Federal and state tax returns
• Audited financial statements and/or annual reports
• Annual and quarterly filings
• Interim financial statements
• Adjusting journal entries
• General ledger
• Check register
• Trial balance
• Accounts payable and receivable records
• Purchase orders, invoices, receiving reports, and any other supporting documentation for expenditures
• Payroll ledger and supporting documentation
• Employee listing
• Vendor listing
• Customer listing
• Expense reports
• Time cards
• Vehicle listing
• Policy manuals
• Correspondence, email or otherwise, pertaining to relevant parties and transactions
• Bank and investment statements
• Signature cards
• Bank reconciliation reports
• Copies of canceled checks, wire transfer authorizations, debit memos, credit memos, and deposit slips
• Credit card statements and payment information
• Loan applications, statements, ledgers, correspondence, and collateral documentation
• Board of Directors meeting minutes, authorizations, and partnership resolutions
• Organization charts
• Articles of organization
• Bylaws

Remember, you most likely will not receive something that you don’t request, so make your list and check it twice!