IDEA can be used to identify unusual and suspect transactions as part of a fraud investigation. This section does not present a complete guide for conducting a complete fraud investigation and checklists of audit tests only serve as an aide-memoir.
There are a number of tools to prevent and detect fraud including personnel vetting, independent authorisation of transactions and observation of employees. IDEA does not replace any of these techniques but adds a tool that is particularly useful in the right circumstances.
Clearly, the relevant information to check must reside on accessible computer files.
Generally the larger the volumes and the more detailed the information held, the more useful IDEA becomes. Using IDEA on copies of the files can be done without alerting those under suspicion and can build up evidence to prove what has occurred. However, it should be noted that there could be problems in submitting computer records as evidence to a court. Hence expert advice should be sought if information from IDEA needs to be submitted. Further, this guide does not cover dealing with fraudsters for which specialist help should be sought.
Three of the most common areas of fraud are payroll, purchases, and banking.