How to get into Forensic Accounting: Christine Rolland

My career journey started in my fourth year of a law degree when I had decided that perhaps I wasn’t going to be Ally McBeal (90s TV series that followed the professional and personal life of Ally McBeal) after all. Having made that decision, I found myself looking through The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers Guide and found a large accountancy firm looking for law graduates to train as Chartered Accountants within their forensic accounting department. I had never heard of forensic accounting but after doing a bit of research into it, I thought it sounded like an ideal fit for me being an analytical, problem solver who is also naturally inquisitive (read: nosey…).

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to secure a training contract in Scotland within a forensic accounting team but I did apply and was accepted to do my CA training in Glasgow within audit. Whilst audit was not my passion, I can look back and recognise the experience and knowledge I gained from it. This was not only in relation to technical accounting issues but also in speaking with client staff from shop floor workers to Boards of Directors, and in developing my own network of contemporaries who are now working in a range of different businesses and sectors.

Despite starting in audit, I made sure to introduce myself to the director of forensic accounting in Glasgow at an early stage and explain that I was interested in that line of work. Whilst I felt awkward introducing myself, that initial feeling of unease has paid dividends in the long run and goes to show what can be achieved by pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I kept in touch with her throughout my training contract and once exam qualified, I moved to forensic accounting initially on secondment and then on a permanent basis once fully qualified.

Since moving to forensic accounting, I’ve worked on hundreds of cases – from a multi-billion euro expert determination in the nuclear power sector to business valuations for matrimonial purposes, quantum calculations in professional negligence claims, preparing reports in actions for accounting (or count, reckoning and payment) in contentious trust disputes and calculating the true sales and profits made by businesses following investigations by HMRC. I’ve given evidence in the Court of Session and in the Sheriff Court, taken part in mediations and provided training to hundreds of solicitors, advocates (the Scottish equivalent of barristers in England and Wales) and devils (trainee advocates, known as pupils in England and Wales). No two days are the same and this variety is what makes the job interesting.

Specialising in forensic accounting has meant that I have come almost full circle back to law as I spend almost every day dealing with solicitors, only now I am able to assist them, their clients and ultimately, the Court by applying the skills and expertise I have gained over the last 18 years. It has been refreshing and motivating to be part of Henderson Loggie’s forensic accounting team and I’m looking forward to continuing to build on our reputation for excellence in the Scottish forensic accounting market.

Christine Rolland

Christine Rolland

I have specialised in forensic accounting since 2009. I was an integral part of the Scottish forensic accounting team in a top-five UK accountancy firm, before then going on to spend four years working as…