Using Computers to Catch Corporate Fraud

Accounting software makers are trying to capitalize on a string of high profile scandals by developing computer programs that flag unusual bookkeeping and launch investigations with little human intervention.

For company officials, reviewing reams of corporate data can be a daunting -- and occasionally mind-numbing -- task.

Where an accountant's eyes might glaze over with fatigue, computer software can conduct endless checks and analysis to identify sources of possible fraud.

And companies have a powerful, new incentive to catch books that are cooked: new laws make executives personally liable if fraud is discovered.

To reduce their own risks, large companies are turning to software from Hyperion Solutions Corp., which has more than 6,000 customers. Hyperion's tools roll up general ledger entries into consolidated financial reports, and also allow complex budgeting, planning, and forecasting.

Hyperion executives said the company plans to develop tools that can combine basic analysis with so-called rule processing, allowing executives to drill down into the books and automatically launch investigations when unusual entries cannot be explained away by such factors as staff level changes.

News source: Reuters - Using Computers to Catch Corporate Fraud

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