Matt Fehon is a Global Elite Thought Leader this year for his skilled work in fraud risk matters. He is “energetic and prolific” across a whole host of sectors and jurisdictions.
Matt is a leading forensic expert specialising in financial crime, corporate corruption and regulatory investigations, dispute advisory, enforceable undertakings, and risk advisory. Matt has over 30 years’ investigative and consulting experience and has built a reputation for integrity and excellence. Matt has developed a unique mix of skills as a detective with the NSW Police Force, while at Citibank in precious metals trading, and as a forensic partner of a Big Four accounting firm.
What attracted you to a career in forensic accounting?
The diverse range of problems that you are presented with. All jobs are different, therefore it requires you to think outside the box and never overlook any possibility. It really is the more interesting world of accounting.
How has the role of a forensic accountant changed since you started your career?
It has changed dramatically owing to the vast amount of information that is now available. Moving from hard copy to electronic evidence such emails, instant messaging and bank transfers – all are relevant to almost every engagement. I work closely with forensic technology and analytics specialists to interrogate data.
What recent trends have you noticed in the investigations field, and how have they impacted your work?
The ability to undertake more of the investigation remotely with data being made available to forensic accountants to analyse. The field of forensic accounting is really specialised, and we have seen accountants from other disciplines and even lawyers undertake engagements, without the required skills, experience or resources.
What new types of fraud (if any) are you seeing emerge and develop during the covid-19 pandemic? How are you ensuring that you and your clients are well equipped to tackle them?
Predominately cyber-related fraud incidents. These have ranged from tens of thousands of dollars to $20 million. Trust account fraud and internal fraud have increased (similar to what was seen during the global financial crisis).
What measures have the regulatory authorities in Australia introduced to tackle the covid-19 crisis? Have they adapted their approach to enforcement?
The regulators have been proactive in raising awareness regarding scams and fraud incidents. There is no change to enforcement other than where they have stated that some matters may be delayed as resources are diverted to immediate priorities, some of which are working on government taskforces.
How do you expect the Investigations sector to change in a post-covid-19 world?
It will be more widely accepted to undertake investigations remotely. Of course this will not completely replace meetings or interviews with suspected fraudsters.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
Working with great people and building practices that are highly regarded and achieve success in their markets.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Quality and integrity are key values for client success. Look after your staff.