Date posted: 19/10/2020 5 min read

“We were bundled into black 4WDs and out of the country in hours”

Forensic accounting specialist Matthew Ashby CA details some not-quite-right business dealings on The Acuity Podcast.

In Brief

  • Forensic accounting specialist Matthew Ashby CA says the pandemic’s economic fallout has created conditions where people will do the wrong thing.
  • Tough times may also increase the number of disputes between commercial partners.
  • Demand for the services of forensic accountants will increase because of this.

By Hannah Tattersall

It was some years ago now but Matthew Ashby CA can still remember the day he was whisked away from a corruption case in Indonesia, fearing for his life.

Three to four weeks into the assignment with an international automotive manufacturer, Ashby and his team had uncovered indications of inappropriate payments to police to facilitate the movement of vehicles around the country.

“Without wanting to cause alarm, [our] security advisers suggested we move hotels. We were in what was a government-aligned hotel, apparently, and they put us in a more West-aligned hotel. 

“However, as it turned out, that hotel was one that was bombed both before and after our short visit there. In hindsight, I’m not actually sure we were in the safest hotel.

Matthew Ashby CAPicture: Matthew Ashby CA.

“In hindsight, I’m not actually sure we were in the safest hotel.”
Matthew Ashby CA

“We also had some armed guards assigned to our floor and, when the client decided we’d found enough for their purposes, we were told we’d fly out that night. We were bundled into some black four-wheel-drives with tinted glass and shot off to the airport.

“We were out of the country in a matter of hours.”

The demand for forensic accountants

Speaking to The Acuity Podcast, Ashby joins host Aly Garrett FCA in explaining why forensic accountants are very much in demand right now.

“The conditions, as a result of COVID, are really ripe for demand to increase,” says Ashby. “The drivers of demand for forensic accountants are generally people doing the wrong thing or fighting about money and both of those things would seem to have the scope to happen right now.

“The financial pressures [that have come with COVID-19] may create motivations and opportunities for people to commit fraud or other financial crime. Similarly, [those pressures] may drive a wedge between commercial parties where money’s at stake, creating an increased number of disputes.

“While some of those matters may not yet have come to fruition or to people’s attention, I think behaviour will be happening right now to cause an increase in demand for the services of forensic accountants.”

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Hear the full story from Matthew Ashby CA and listen to our next episode on insolvency.

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