Tech Corner Reviews

Monarch V8 increases power of fraud examiners to mine and analyze data without IT help

By Philip C. Levi, CMC, CFE, FCA, CPA, CA•IFAs

In this column, the author reviews hardware and software products that could aid the fraud examiner. The author avows no relationship of any type with the companies, which represent or manufacture the reviewed products. The author's opinions are solely his own and aren't necessarily those of Fraud Magazine or its staff. - ed. 

As fraud examiners, we're charged with the responsibility to find the evidence that will confirm or refute allegations of fraud. Increasingly, this evidence is found in documents - not paper documents but digital documents which exist on computer disks or on the Internet. The challenge is not only to extract the evidence from the computer but to be able to easily and economically analyze, extract, and summarize the data so that it becomes useful information.

With the help of Monarch, fraud examiners of any information technology (IT) skill level can achieve this goal. In fact, no additional programming work of any kind is required. Users can, on their own, bring existing reports into Monarch, transform them into live data (as opposed to "static" data contained in printed reports, which can't be sorted, extracted, and merged into other applications for analysis and comparison), and search for hidden evidence.

At the heart of Monarch is a powerful data recognition and extraction engine that can pull data out of virtually any report file (any text output produced by any other software application, "printed" to a file instead of printed on paper). Reports vary from very simple row-and-column reports to highly detailed reports with multiple lines of detail data, data in report page headers and footers, report titles or sub-titles, etc. No matter how complex the layout of a report might be, Monarch can successfully extract, analyze and export the data. Today, just about every computer program has the ability to re-direct a report from the printer to a disk file, regardless of the operating system or application program. The output file is then recognizable by Monarch.

In my previous review of Monarch (See The White Paper Jan./Feb. 2003), I discuss the general features and use of the program, which continues to form the basic core of Version 8. The new release of Monarch has added many new features, several of which are particularly valuable to the fraud examiner. Although Monarch is available in both a Standard and Professional edition, the nominal extra cost for the Pro version and the added features of particular interest to the fraud examiner dictate that the Pro version should be your choice.

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