There cannot be draft evidence. For that reason, investigations report cannot have the word “draft” label on this something which most auditors love to write on their reports. By the end of this short article, you will learn the art of investigation report writing and become a darling of the lawyers and court.
A poorly written report means that the case is likely to drag on and on because the facts are not clear. A poor report is one of the major causes of poor administration of justice. You don’t empower court with the full facts on the case to objectively reach the right conclusion for the effective administration of justice.
Recommended article: How to conduct an appropriate fraud investigation
What makes a good fraud examiner or investigator?
You got it right – the quality of the output of the investigation work. A great investigator writes a great investigation or fact-finding report.
Why a fact-finding report?
All investigations assignments, have one objective: to determine who did what, where, when, how, and why. As an investigator, you must provide answers supported with watertight evidence.
It is not acceptable to write an opinion or hearsay in the report of the investigation. For that reason, we call the outcome of any investigation – a fact findings report. It is a report of facts about the matter at hand. That is why no single investigation is the same. Reason? The who – the suspects are usually different. The what? The issue at hand or the crime is usually different. The how? The method or approach or modus operand on how the crime was committed is usually different. The why? The reasons for the crime or motive of the criminals or intent is usually different. The when, the timing of the crime is usually different. The where? The location of the crime scene is usually different.
Because no single case will have all these facts the same, no investigation is the same.
Audit reports vs fraud investigation reports
Audit reports contain lots of opinions. They do not qualify to go to court since the court is about objective analysis of the issues at hand to affix blame on the guilty or innocence of the parties before it.
The objective of an audit is to express an opinion. Auditors use a lot of materiality and sampling. They don’t look at everything. This is a major weakness. In investigations, one must pay attention to all details. There is no such thing as an immaterial fact. For this reason, most of the audit reports fall short at prosecution because they are not written for court purposes but rather to inform management to improve operations.
An investigation report, on the other hand, is a fact-finding report. It must state factual findings. Has no room for opinions and recommendations? If such is needed, must be written as a separate report.
Below download a Theft and Fraud Investigation Report Template. This will improve the quality of your reporting and work. Remember, never put a label like DRAFT Report in a fraud investigation report. The reason, there cannot be draft evidence.