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Thought Leaders

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Thought Leader

WWL says

Yousr Khalil’s “capacity for scope is deeply impressive”. She “is never overwhelmed” and is “calm under fire and ensures a path to victory no matter what”.

Questions & Answers

Yousr Khalil has nearly 20 years’ experience delivering forensic accounting services in support of multi-jurisdictional investigations; and developing and testing compliance programmes and complex dispute resolutions and arbitrations. Yousr led and managed a fully integrated FRA client service team in the landmark Airbus €3.6 billion global settlement. She was responsible for the forensic accounting and e-discovery review within the context of the company’s multinational, multi-year investigation, reporting to the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the US Department of State (DOS) and French Parquet National Financier (PNF).

What inspired you to pursue a career as a forensic accountant? 

I wanted to be a fighter pilot, but fate had it that I studied accounting, which I found very easy. I followed the typical career and joined Arthur Andersen LLP’s government contracts and consulting practice in Virginia, USA where I participated in both auditing and forensic accounting. I found the world of forensic accounting most fascinating and made it my career. I am fortunate that my work was challenging with engagements across various industries (telecoms, pharma, mining, constructions, aerospace) and diverse engagements (e.g. internal and external investigations for financial statement fraud, bribery and corruption, monitorship, expert testimony, and compliance-related reviews). Having spent the majority of my career in Washington DC, I was ready for a new challenge and moved to Paris to help develop FRA’s forensic services in the French market. 

How has your firm adapted to address the challenges caused by covid-19?

For more than 20 years, we have been proactively partnering with clients and their counsel to solve complex problems and manage risk in remote work environments. While the global coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented, helping our clients to anticipate this new risk landscape, manage the disruption and develop forward-looking action plans is in many ways business as usual for FRA. Since our inception, we have deployed remote data collection, remote transaction testing, remote interviews and other remote procedures. This is our strength.

To what extent is the increasingly virtual nature of investigations in a covid-19 landscape making for a more efficient process? In what aspects is it falling short? 

Remote working is looking like the “new normal” even after we have exited covid-19 lockdown. The implication of this shift is that arguably, many of the controls which may have been previously effective in the workplace, will need to change now and in the future. Adapting existing controls to the remote working environment, the use of data and analytics in monitoring risks, and the proper balance between human and technological oversight will become more important as the “new normal” takes hold. The industry can thrive however in this remote economy but having the right partner with robust investigative experience in remote environments to help regain control and develop forward-looking solutions will be vital to success as we emerge from this crisis. 

Practitioners have recorded an increased level of coordination between companies, regulators, and authorities. How is this affecting your practice? 

Our clients rely on us to deliver service excellence; subject matter expertise; extensive cross-sector and cross-border experience; scalability anywhere in the world and most importantly global work plans and teams – this is what we pride ourselves on. We frequently work at the direction of counsel on global matters including complex multi-year investigations, collecting data from numerous accounting and electronic sources, analysing complex transactions and advising clients in response to regulatory inquiries and monitorships. Our work has taken us to more than 75 countries and we have native speakers of 40+ major business languages (including Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, Russian, Japanese and Korean).

What new types of fraud have you seen emerge recently? How are you ensuring that you are well equipped to tackle the forensic challenges they pose? 

With the increasing number of government aid programmes, we are bound to see a surge in fraud schemes to exploit these funds – it is already apparent with people taking advantage of the furlough schemes in the UK and France where the respective governments are starting audit to track down these illegal requests. 

Looking at how and where we work, the shift to remote working conditions and the reliance on personal internet connections, companies’ vulnerability to cyber threats (phishing, spamming, fake text messages) is snowballing. 

With the economic downturn, companies should pay closer attention to compliance activities as employees are facing more pressures to transact. The risk of bribery and corruption in supply chains is also increasing. Furthermore, it would be interesting to see what financial statements scandals follow this economic crisis, similar to the failures we saw in the aftermath of 2008. 

Lastly, while it is not fraud, we are also expecting an increase in legal disputes in connection with the early termination of contracts. 

Our clients turn to us as their trusted adviser because we have a proven track record handling even the most complex investigations and data governance matters in remote environments, as well as the internal security structure and development capabilities to adapt quickly to our clients’ shifting needs and achieve remotely what others can’t. Our fully operational team offers creative, customised and regulatory-compliant solutions, which allow clients to adjust to this new virtual landscape via remote project management and forensic data collections, transfer and review.

What do you enjoy most about your role as a forensic accountant?  

For me, the thought of the investigation (finding the needle in the hay stack) and travelling to new places was a big adrenaline rush; and that remains the case.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

No matter the career, you need to enjoy what you do – otherwise, it is not worth doing. For a career in forensic accounting, grow an appetite for constant learning and developing. It is a very challenging but super-fascinating career. Know that with every engagement, there is something new to learn.

Global Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Yousr Khalil’s “capacity for scope is deeply impressive”. She “is never overwhelmed” and is “calm under fire and ensures a path to victory no matter what”.

Biography

Yousr Khalil is a partner at FRA and head of FRA’s Paris office. She is a forensic accountant with almost 20 years' experience in matters involving fraud and corruption, government contracts litigation, internal investigation, due diligence, compliance, and governance and risk management in the US, Latin America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She is a certified public accountant (CPA), certified internal auditor (CIA), certified fraud examiner (CFE) and is certified in financial forensics (CFF). She is fluent in English, Arabic and French, and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.

Yousr led and managed a fully integrated FRA client service team in the landmark Airbus €3.6billion global settlement. Leading a team of 70 professionals across FRA offices in Europe and the United States, she was responsible for the forensic accounting and eDiscovery review within the context of the company’s multinational, multi-year investigation, reporting to four investigative authorities: UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the US Department of State (DOS) and French Parquet National Financier (PNF). Yousr led the forensic accounting structured data analysis, involving analysis of large volumes of financial data and liaising with international legal teams across multiple jurisdictions.

In 2018, Yousr assisted counsel through the first French Anti-corruption Agency compliance monitorship on a review which included the collection and analysis of financial and accounting data, high-risk transaction testing and interviews.

Prior to FRA, Yousr worked for Kroll in Dubai in their Middle East financial investigations practice. Yousr was part of the team engaged by the Bahraini public prosecutor to investigate complaints submitted by the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Algosaibi family related to the collapse of The International Banking Corporation and Awal Bank.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Yousr Khalil's "scope is deeply impressive" and she excels in a wide array of investigation matters. She is "never overwhelmed" and always finds a "path to victory".

Biography

Yousr Khalil is a partner at FRA and head of FRA’s Paris office. She is a forensic accountant with almost 20 years' experience in matters involving fraud and corruption, government contracts litigation, internal investigation, due diligence, compliance, and governance and risk management in the US, Latin America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She is a certified public accountant (CPA), certified internal auditor (CIA), certified fraud examiner (CFE) and is certified in financial forensics (CFF). She is fluent in English, Arabic and French, and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.

Yousr led and managed a fully integrated FRA client service team in the landmark Airbus €3.6billion global settlement. Leading a team of 70 professionals across FRA offices in Europe and the United States, she was responsible for the forensic accounting and eDiscovery review within the context of the company’s multinational, multi-year investigation, reporting to four investigative authorities: UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the US Department of State (DOS) and French Parquet National Financier (PNF). Yousr led the forensic accounting structured data analysis, involving analysis of large volumes of financial data and liaising with international legal teams across multiple jurisdictions.

In 2018, Yousr assisted counsel through the first French Anti-corruption Agency compliance monitorship on a review which included the collection and analysis of financial and accounting data, high-risk transaction testing and interviews.

Prior to FRA, Yousr worked for Kroll in Dubai in their Middle East financial investigations practice. Yousr was part of the team engaged by the Bahraini public prosecutor to investigate complaints submitted by the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Algosaibi family related to the collapse of The International Banking Corporation and Awal Bank.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Yousr Khalil is “calm under fire and always recalculating to assure a path to victory, no matter what develops”.

Biography

Yousr Khalil is a partner at FRA and head of FRA’s Paris office. She is a forensic accountant with almost 20 years' experience in matters involving fraud and corruption, government contracts litigation, internal investigation, due diligence, compliance, and governance and risk management in the US, Latin America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. She is a certified public accountant (CPA), certified internal auditor (CIA), certified fraud examiner (CFE) and is certified in financial forensics (CFF). She is fluent in English, Arabic and French, and has a working knowledge of Portuguese.

Yousr led and managed a fully integrated FRA client service team in the landmark Airbus €3.6billion global settlement. Leading a team of 70 professionals across FRA offices in Europe and the United States, she was responsible for the forensic accounting and eDiscovery review within the context of the company’s multinational, multi-year investigation, reporting to four investigative authorities: UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the US Department of State (DOS) and French Parquet National Financier (PNF). Yousr led the forensic accounting structured data analysis, involving analysis of large volumes of financial data and liaising with international legal teams across multiple jurisdictions.

In 2018, Yousr assisted counsel through the first French Anti-corruption Agency compliance monitorship on a review which included the collection and analysis of financial and accounting data, high-risk transaction testing and interviews.

Prior to FRA, Yousr worked for Kroll in Dubai in their Middle East financial investigations practice. Yousr was part of the team engaged by the Bahraini public prosecutor to investigate complaints submitted by the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Algosaibi family related to the collapse of The International Banking Corporation and Awal Bank.

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