SOMETIMES folks put two and two together and come up with 22 – which leaves everyone scratching their heads.

So, when the numbers simply don’t add up, who you gonna call? That would be the forensic accountant.

The demand for this specialist role has grown in recent years as companies strive to steer clear of scandal and show a commitment to transparency and financial reform.

Half-Sherlock Holmes, half-Albert Einstein, this is a role that requires more than your average set of accountancy skills.

Investigating deals and disputes, inaccuracies and irregularities – including incidents of fraudulent activity – requires a broad mix of talents in both accounting and auditing.

These skills can be brought to bear in many areas, including commercial litigation, criminal investigations, shareholders and partnership disputes, and personal injury and insurance claims.

Essentially all of these missions will involve super sleuthing to identify clues that lie hidden in financial documents and reports.

This should help build a bigger picture that can show what’s been happening with the books, where possible quantify losses, or even recover missing funds.

The job also involves being able to explain the findings in a way that can be easily understood – and stand up to close scrutiny in court.

This means having excellent communication skills is important, as is a thorough understanding of financial legislation and procedures.

Some companies will use a forensic accountant to set up ways and means to reduce the risk of financial problems. If you can stop potential problems before they even happen, you can also boost your organisation’s reputation for good practice.

The really good news is this role won’t see you consigned to living in the backroom of an accountancy office surrounded by dusty books and computers.

Your talents are in demand from a wide range of clients and in a variety of different working environments, including banks, police forces, charities, insurance companies and government agencies.

To earn your badge and enter this world of intricate detective work, you’ll need a degree in any subject – an accountancy degree, of course, would see you off to a flying start.

When you’ve finished working on the numbers for your client or company, there’s another set you’re going to love: the average salary for a forensic accountant is just under £40,000 and, with experience, this can go up to £70,000. Those are the kinds of