The 10 Best Fraud & Forensic Accounting Books

Last updated: 1 January 2021.

This page features the best fraud books and forensic accounting books available online or in book shops today. The perfect shortlist of the best titles for 2021, to help you stay up to date with the latest techniques used by fraudsters and anti-fraud teams. 

This guide to the best fraud and forensic accounting books

Below you'll find my ranking of the 5 best fraud and forensic accounting books, I've also curated other collections of other relevant titles such as audit and money laundering which may interest you. 

All books featured are beginner friendly and don't assume much prior knowledge. With prices ranging from £8 - £80, stocking up on a few of the best fraud and forensic accounting books could deliver the same value as an expensive seminar for only a fraction of the cost. They can even be read for free with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial.

Click on any title below to see the latest price from Amazon, you'll be shocked at how affordable the most popular titles are. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases which helps to support this site. This does not impact how I compile the list. Happy reading!

Explore the best books in any investing & finance topic

Your only limit is your curiosity

Financial Expert 2020 Book Awards

Gold Prize

Financial Times Guides: Investing by Glen Arnold

Image

Why this book won


  • Readers' favourite
  • Clear and concise
  • Comprehensive and detailed

Learn More

Books about high profile accounting frauds

Salacious tales and shocking exposés of some of the largest financial crimes of this century


Smartest guys in the room
Called to account
Modern Asset Allocation for wealth management book
Billion dollar whale

Books about forensic accounting

Detailed guides to catching errors, falsehoods and fraud in financial reporting

Forensic Accounting & Finance
Dummies guide to forensic accounting
Financial Investigation
Essentials of forensic accounting
Forensic Analytics
Criminal financial investigations
Fraud Examination and Forensic
Financial shenanigans

Fraud & criminal enterprises

Fascinating insights into the underworld of moving the money of organised crime

Art of Money Laundering
The cleaner
Treasure Islands
The Laundromat

Money laundering & fraud for beginners

Your introduction to the issue of fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing

Global Financial Crime
Mastering Anti-Money Laundering
Anti Money Laundering in a Nutshell
The Laundrymen

The best external auditing books

Comprehensive guides on how to perform an external audit.

Principles of external audit - Brenda

Best seller

Auditing for dummies
Auditing
Principles of auditing

The best internal auditing books

Learn the basic principles an internal auditor would use to detect fraud.

Internal auditing in plain english
Internal control audit and compliance
The essential guide to internal auditing
How to lead the internal audit function

Money laundering - lighter reads

Shorter guides to fraud & money laundering which contain less technical detail than textbooks

Kleptopia
Risk Based Approach
Compliance in multinational organisations
The Panama Papers

Download all these fraud books for free with Kindle Unlimited

You DON'T even need a Kindle device to download books

Here's a useful tip that will save you £100+ on forensic accounting books. Sign-up to Amazon's Kindle Unlimited free trial, which offers access to all titles for free for 30 days.

  • There's no obligation to continue with a paid subscription.
  • You don't even need a Kindle to enjoy - any device will do.

If you're cost-savvy, you'll already be calculating the savings you could unlock and the knowledge you could gain by downloading 5 books over the next 30 days.


Get free access
The best fraud books

The Top Fraud & Forensic Accounting Books for 2021

Click covers to see latest reviews and prices



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Demand for expertise in this field is growing, and Forensic Accounting and Finance offers a complete, accessible and affordable guide, combining coverage of principle theory with the real and practical needs of the professional. Written by a strong academic and practitioner author team and in association with the Network for Independent Forensic Accountants, this book covers all forensic accounting topics from forensics as an extension of auditing and the basic principles of forensic accounting, to financial analysis and modelling, financial reporting, financial crime, and IT systems."

Who this book is for:

A complete guide to Forensic Accounting and Finance, this book is ideal for advanced-level students and new or mid-level forensic accounting professionals looking to boost their specialist knowledge as part of their CPD, for accountants who wish to build more knowledge in this skills area or advanced undergraduates who feel ready to stretch themselves.

Forensic Accounting and Finance shares current examples and case studies, highlighting cultural differences for key topics with updated regional legislation information available online for those looking for a truly global approach which is always up to date



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"In Anti–Money Laundering in a Nutshell: Awareness and Compliance for Financial Personnel and Business Managers, Kevin Sullivan draws on a distinguished career as an AML agent and consultant to teach personnel in financial institutions what money laundering is, who does it, how they do it, how to prevent it, how to detect it, and how to report it in compliance with federal law.

He traces the dynamic interplay among employees, regulatory examiners, compliance officers, fraud and forensic accountants and technologists, criminal investigators, and prosecutors in following up on reports, catching launderers, and protecting the integrity and reputations of financial institutions and businesses. In particular, corporate investigators will gain rich insights winnowed from the author's experiences as a New York State and federal investigator."

Who this book is for:

A comprehensive guide for those who are serious about immersing themselves in money laundering.

Anti-Money Laundering in a Nutshell by Kevin Sullivan is my favourite AML title available today.

Currently rated at 4.7/5.0 on Amazon with 50 reviews, it's one of the best-reviewed books in the genre.

Anti–Money Laundering, in a Nutshell, is a concise, accessible, and practical guide to compliance with anti-money laundering law for financial professionals, corporate investigators, business managers, and all personnel of financial institutions who are required, under penalty of hefty fines, to get anti-money laundering training.



3. The Wizard of Lies - Diana B Henriques



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Who is Bernie Madoff, and how did he pull off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history?

This question has long fascinated people, about the New York financier who swindled his friends, relatives, and other investors out of $65 billion. And in The Wizard of Lies, Diana B. Henriques of The New York Times has written the definitive and bestselling account of the man and his scheme, drawing on unprecedented access and more than one hundred interviews, including Madoff's first interviews for publication following his arrest. Henriques provides vivid details from the lawsuits and government investigations that explode the myths that have come to surround the story, and in a revised and expanded epilogue, she unravels the latest legal developments."

Who this book is for:

This title is a true-life financial thriller suitable for anyone with an interest in the financial markets or fraud.

The Wizard of Lies contrasts Madoff's remarkable rise on Wall Street with dramatic scenes from his accelerating slide toward self-destruction. It is also the most complete account of the heartbreaking personal disasters and landmark legal battles triggered by Madoff's downfall--the suicides, business failures, fractured families, shuttered charities--and the clear lessons this timeless scandal offers to Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street



4. The Panama Papers - Frederik Obermaier & Bastian Obermayer



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"11.5 million documents sent through encrypted channels. The secret records of 214,000 offshore companies. The largest data leak in history.

In early 2015, an anonymous whistle-blower led investigative journalists Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier into the shadow economy where the super-rich hide billions of dollars in complex financial networks. Thus began the ground-breaking investigation that saw an international team of 400 journalists work in secret for a year to uncover cases involving heads of state, politicians, businessmen, big banks, the mafia, diamond miners, art dealers and celebrities. A real-life thriller, The Panama Papers is the gripping account of how the story of the century was exposed to the world."

Who this book is for:

From the winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.

The Panama Papers is one of those titles will captures the current zeitgeist. Reflecting the:

  • Increasing scrutiny over global elites
  • Scepticism over banking secrecy
  • A pivot towards tax transparency

The Panama Papers is perhaps the most revealing collection of accounts to shine a light on the misdeeds of others through this scandal.



Financial Expert Rating:


Synopsis:

"Kleptopia follows the dirty money that is flooding the global economy, emboldening dictators and poisoning democracies. From the Kremlin to Beijing, Harare to Riyadh, Paris to the Trump White House, it shows how the thieves are uniting – and the terrible human cost.

A body in a burned-out Audi. Workers riddled with bullets in the Kazakh desert. A rigged election in Zimbabwe. A British banker silenced and humiliated for trying to expose the truth about the City of London – the world’s piggy bank for blood money.

Riveting, horrifying and written like fiction, this book shows that while we are looking the other way, all that we hold most dear is being stolen."

Who this book is for:

In this real-life thriller packed with jaw-dropping revelations, award-winning investigative journalist Tom Burgis reveals a terrifying global web of corruption.

‘If you think the UK isn't corrupt, you haven't looked hard enough … This new and terrifying book follows a global current of dirty money, and the murders and kidnappings required to sustain it’ George Monbiot, The Guardian.



The Financial Expert™ Best Fraud & Forensic Accounting Book Challenge


Best fraud books

I challenge you to read one book per month and see if it revolutionises your investing style!


The Financial Expert™ Best Fraud & Forensic Accounting Book Challenge is a well-loved feature of this website.

I'm laying down the gauntlet to challenge you to read more about forensic accounting and fraud. 

Fraudsters don't take long vacations - they follow rabbit holes and become experts to help them exploit vulnerabilities in financial systems or to abuse trust, and do so in an undetected fashion. 

To catch fraud, you need to be one-step ahead of someone who is already immersed in the framework that they will misuse for financial gain. 

Therefore, I am challenging you to read one book about fraud or forensic accounting each month for the next year, to find your new favourite!

In total, I'm suggesting you should read a total of 12 books over the course of the year. 

They don't all need to be thick textbooks. On the contrary, I believe it's way more useful to pick up a variety of titles, from slim reads on a specific fraud story, to technical guides on forensic accounting. It may take a good mixture to keep the upcoming context fresh, and to avoid feeling like you're reading the same material over and over. 

Some guidance

  • I found it helpful to stock up on books for the next few months, so that when a new month rolls around, my next book was my bed-side table asking to be opened!
  • Pick a variety of styles. This will keep the challenge fresh and increase the diversity of opinion. 
  • Pick at least one book that you don't think you would enjoy, this book might be the one that surprises you the most!
  • If you're time-starved, audio books are absolutely fine!

Where to begin?

My list of the 5 best fraud & forensic accounting books above is as good as any place to start, as I have consciously included a mix of different writing styles to ensure that it caters to a wide audience.

Good luck!



What's in the best forensic accounting book?


Money laundering books
"Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues."
Thomas Hobbes

Forensic accounting is a wide-ranging discipline. Let's look at what content you should be looking for in a detailed forensic accounting book:

  • The forensic accounting profession
  • Forensic accountants used in court cases
  • Forensic accountancy and taxation
  • Fraud detection & prevention
  • Financial statement fraud
  • Crime prevention
  • Commercial disputes between two private parties
  • Forensic accounts used for bankruptcy cases

The forensic accounting profession

In chapters on the profession itself, I'd be looking for an overview of the marketplace. Who are the main buyers of forensic accountancy services, and what type of firms or organisations are the main providers. How does someone become a forensic accountant, including the qualifications and training needed.

Forensic accountants used in court cases

In chapters about the use of forensic accountants in court cases, I'd be looking for clear outlines of the different legal cases that a forensic accountant could be used in. Each of these branches effectively becomes a sub-specialism that you may wish to apply as a forensic accountant. 

Forensic accountancy and taxation

The best books on forensic accounting will make it clear how professionals can assist the tax authorities in ensuring that all relevant duties are due. The real value of a forensic accountant is in undercovering hidden assets, undisclosed income and other irregularities which could support a tax penalty or claim being made against a corporation or individual. 

Fraud detection & prevention

Fraud detection & prevention is probably the area of interest for most people who are considering a career in forensic accounting.

Using analytical skills, interviewing techniques and deduction to catch possibly criminal acts is a rewarding combination of challenges which attracts many to the profession.

Financial statement fraud

Financial statement fraud is one of the largest scale fraud possible. Historical examples include billion dollar fraudulent accounting such as what occurred at Enron Corporation and Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. Forensic accountants may be called in to support an external or internal audit team, or perhaps assist an external investigation such as a government agency. 

Commercial disputes between two private parties

Commercial disputes are also the domain of forensic accountants. They can act as a neutral third party to help ensure that parties on both side of a contract have met their obligations, or they could be engaged by one side of a contract who is concerned about breaches by the counterparty. 

The best fraud books and forensic accounting books will weave together these elements within a natural and intuitive order.

 



What is fraud?

Fraud is obtaining money or assets through malice and deception. 

At the lowest level, fraud could involve:

  • Making a false claim for government benefits
  • Purchasing items on someone else's credit card (identity theft)
  • Lying to tax authorities and committing tax evasion, (not to be confused with legal tax avoidance). 
  • Running scams involving unsuspecting consumers, such as online investment scams or phone scams

Like any economic activity, fraud can scale up to reach a dizzying magnitude. 

  • Financial statement fraud; the manipulation of a companies finances to benefit the fraudulent party.
  • VAT fraud, where a company falsifies its transactional document or hides transactions to unlawfully avoid VAT.
  • Duty fraud, also known as smuggling, which involves the secret transport of goods in order to evade tariffs and import duties.

Money laundering is closely linked to fraud, however I've created a separate list of the best money laundering books

Books about fraud are usually grouped into two categories:

  • Stories about notable frauds on a large scale
  • Guides on how to detect fraud
What is forensic accounting?

Forensic accounting is the methodical process of routing out financial crimes, including fraud. Forensic accountants form part of the investigation teams employed by private companies and police agencies.

Forensic accountants possess the following skills

  • A high degree of financial literacy
  • Familiarity with the methods used to hide and conceal fraud
  • Sampling and discovery approaches to efficiently detect needles in the haystack

Forensic accountants, being specialists, are usually brought in from an external agency or accounting firm. In this way, the team is independent of the individuals or business processes subject to audit.

Considering the fact that fraud often involves the falsification of documents, and collusion between multiple individuals, using a completely external team helps to assure the quality of the review, and minimise the risk of the investigators being corrupted by the fraudulent party. 

Books about forensic accounting usually take the textbook form, and present comprehensive overviews of the subject area, including causes of fraud, audit principles and forensic methodology. See also my separate guide to the best external and internal audit books