Accountants help to ensure that firms are run efficiently, public records kept accurately, and taxes paid properly and on time. They analyze and communicate financial information for various entities such as companies, individual clients, and Federal, State, and local governments. Beyond carrying out the fundamental tasks of the occupation—providing information to clients by preparing, analyzing, and verifying financial documents—many accountants also offer budget analysis, financial and investment planning, information technology consulting, and limited legal services.
Accountants answer questions like : “Who does the IRS audit?”, and what a term like an “audit flag” is. They explain, most tax returns are processed by IRS computers. The computers are designed to watch for anything out of the ordinary, anything that does not match statistical norms. An item that falls outside the norm may be “flagged”, increasing the likelihood that a return will be audited. A flagged return will be manually reviewed by an IRS employee to determine if there’s an actual need for an audit to be conducted. Audit flags don’t guarantee you’ll be audited, but they do mean that the IRS will probably take a closer look at your return.
Technology is rapidly changing the nature of the work of most accountants and auditors. With the aid of special software packages, accountants summarize transactions in the standard formats of financial records and organize data in special formats employed in financial analysis. These accounting packages greatly reduce the tedious work associated with data management and recordkeeping. Computers enable accountants and auditors to be more mobile and to use their clients' computer systems to extract information from databases and the Internet. As a result, a growing number of accountants and auditors with extensive computer skills specialize in correcting problems with software or in developing software to meet unique data management and analytical needs. Accountants also are beginning to perform more technical duties, such as implementing, controlling, and auditing computer systems and networks and developing technology plans, as well as helping clients manage their structured settlements, and other issues.
We are glad to introduce the Iranian community to such a wonderful group of Iranian accountants.
Q. Please tell us your name and what you do.
A. I am Arash Nasiri, and I am a forensic accountant.
Q.How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
A. My experience relating to criminal justice started when I was fourteen as a member of an organization affiliated with a local police department. I continued my education after high school, earning a degree in criminal justice and in accounting. After my involvement as an accountant assisting a local police department with an embezzlement case in 1990, I knew this was the field for me. The challenge in 1990 was that the field of forensic accounting was much less known than it is today.
Q. Do you work for yourself?
A. I started my own firm at the end of 2005 after completing over thirteen years with a regional public accounting firm, having founded and ran the firm’s forensic accounting department for years. I never wanted to run my own business, but I also knew that if I wanted to see if I had learned any skills about running a company and being a business owner, I would have to try and apply what I had learned. I was very fortunate to have worked at a firm that provided many great experiences, including guest speakers and experts in personal development. Leaving behind my friends, co-workers, clients, comfort zone and paycheck, I decided I would give it a try. I never saw it as quitting the firm, but rather graduating, with all this knowledge to apply.
I took out a line of credit, and set a goal that I would start a firm specializing only in forensic accounting. My plan was to assess my success at the six-month mark. I would either be out of funds and seeking re-entry into the work force, or I would have built a sustainable cash flow stream to continue. After an initial drawdown for capital purchases, I hadn’t needed to touch the line during the initial period. My work was far from over, but I knew I could continue on my own. The next thing I knew, my first anniversary passed, as did my second, third, fourth and fifth.
Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. Now in my sixth year, I have been reflecting back on how I managed to remain in business, especially given the economic downturns we have experienced. I am thankful to have formed friendships with so many colleagues who willingly shared their expertise, time and energy to ensure my success.
Q. Thank you for talking to us.
A. It was my pleasure.