A recent study commissioned by the Government of India pegged the amount of black money in the Indian economy to be around 10 per cent of the GDP. With increasing focus on money laundering and other financial frauds, a need for experts specialised in detecting these crimes has opened. S. DIPAK RAGAV speaks to Rajendra Kumar , Head of Education, IndiaForensic, a Pune-based institute that offers a course on money laundering, forensic accounting and fraud investigations.

Could you please brief us about India Forensic and the courses you offer?

We provide the certifications in forensic accounting, fraud investigations and money laundering. We have five certifications including two specialisations for Insurance and Information technology sector, namely, Certified Forensic Accounting Professional — course for the Government and corporate accounting and Audit professionals, Certified Bank Forensic Accounting Professionals — Programme for banking fraud professionals and consultants and Certified Anti-Money laundering expert for the compliance and banking professionals. Under the Certified forensic accounting programme, we have two specialisations for the Insurance and Information technology sector. We recently launched a programme on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act after the Walmart fiasco in India.

Can you elaborate on the Anti-Money Laundering course?

Started in 2007, this was one of the foremost programme on the subject of money laundering. This course combines the benefits of technology-based training and self-study trainings. Students are provided the e-learning CD and also the AML manual. They will also have to keep themselves updated with the latest money laundering scandals. Since the examinations are conducted online, the questions are frequently updated in the system.

What are the advantages of doing this course?

One of the most significant benefits is gaining scientific knowledge on the subject of money laundering. Adding CAME (Certified Anti-Money Laundering expert) words in the resume also helps in building the personal profile. CAME has become a world class designation now.

What are the other courses of you offer in dealing with financial irregularities?

We offer a variety of certification programmes:

1. CFAP - It is a generic course available to the corporates at large and deals with corporate frauds. 2. CFAP [IT] - Focuses on the Information technology sector

3. CFAP [Insurance] - Focuses on the Insurance sector

4. CBFA - Certified Bank Forensic accountant focuses on the banking frauds like Card Frauds, Negotiable instrument frauds, loan frauds etc

5. CAME - Certified Anti Money Laundering expert

What is the fees structure for the courses? What certificate does a student get.

The fees are Rs. 15,500 for each course. Depending on the nature of course, students are provided the Certified Forensic Accounting professional certificate. Those who secure the highest percentage in these certifications are felicitated in our annual anti-fraud conference in Mumbai.

Which are the companies and institutions that hire students with this certificate course?

Our members are placed in companies like KPMG, PWC Ernst&Young, Mahindra SSG, Credit Suisse, TCS, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC bank and many more.

What are the required skills you expect from students who want to do this course and what would be your tips for students who want to opt for this?

The student must have the accounting degrees to understand how the system works. Forensic Accountant must have a high level of communication skills, both spoken and written, as they need to prepare the report of their engagements. They should possess a high level of understanding and creative thinking. He should be have a high level computer literacy and should be technically sound and well aware about all government policies and laws in a country. The student must be creative and innovative and try to think from a culprit’s perspective which would help in investigation.

Who decides the curriculum and how often is it updated?

The curriculum is decided by the advisory board of India forensic. It is updated every year.

How do you relate this to the internationally available courses like those offered by ACAMS/ACFE in terms of value, coverage and difficulty level?

We do not relate our programmes with any of the international associations. Their focus is totally global whereas we focus on Indian or broadly Asian financial developments. Additionally, our laws are much complicated than the global laws covered by these institutions and hence we feel that there cannot be any comparison.

Do you think students from fields other than finance can take it up? For example, computer engineers, considering the fact that most of today’s financial transactions happen electronically...

Yes. We also offer the certification in Computer forensics in association with a company called Lab Systems, which is the pioneer of computer forensics in the country. This course is specially designed for those who have a computer science background.