Winning the Case with a Strong Written Report

By excerpted from the Fraud Examiners Manual, 3.701-3.715, Third Edition Updated 2000-2001

This article is excerpted from the Fraud Examiners Manual, 3.701-3.715, Third Edition Updated 2000-2001 ©2000 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 

The written case report, often the only evidence of investigative work, forces the fraud examiner to
consider his or her actions.

Documenting results is a particularly important function in fraud examinations. In many instances, the written report is the only evidence that the work was performed. Cases can be won or lost on the strength of the written report. It conveys to the litigator all the evidence and provides credence to the fraud examination and to the examiner's work. The report will force you to consider your actions during an investigation because they'll be documented. It omits irrelevant information, thereby allowing pertinent facts to stand out. A first-rate written report is based upon a first-rate examination.


You must adequately prepare prior to any interview or information-gathering process. Proper preparation entails analyzing what's to be expected as an end product. It also should involve having a good idea of what is to be learned from each witness.

Active listening is an essential function of effective report writing. The fraud examiner must have good listening skills so that information is properly assimilated, evaluated, and communicated to others. Listening skills are learned. Listening involves perceiving the ideas the respondent is actually communicating. To do so properly, one must set aside any preconceived notions and listen objectively - not only to what is being said - but how it's said and why. The fraud examiner should withhold judgment until the entire message has been heard.

Active listening often involves participating with the respondent during the information-gathering process. Participation conveys interest in the subject and promotes rapport. Participation may require reacting openly to information by verbal and nonverbal responses.

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