Geoff Hayes

BA '04, MAcc '04

Financial detective, forensic accountant

Geoff Hayes.Geoff enjoys the connotations his job title conjures up for people. As a senior forensic accountant for Deloitte & Touche LLP in Toronto, Geoff says with a smile,

The best part about forensic accounting is that unlike other areas of accounting, which unfortunately seems to bore people at the very mention of the word, this job actually sounds exciting to people.

Based on recent high-profile media cases, people tend to believe he is a secret agent of the financial world, cracking corporate fraud rings, exposing CEO's who tamper with company stocks and busting sneaky employees who dip into the corporate coffers for personal gain. This isn't so far from the truth.

Geoff says forensic accounting is a growing field as

fraud, corporate code of conduct violations, regulatory non-compliance and other business misdemeanours are unfortunate realities

of today's world. While Deloitte offers a wide range of financial advisory and forensic services, as a senior consultant for Deloitte's Forensic and Dispute Services group, Geoff specializes in clients who have three main concerns: those who suspect some form of fraud is being committed i.e. employees stashing money away or making sizeable errors in their accounting; those who don't suspect fraud but want to ensure they aren't susceptible in the future; and those who have signed a contract and want to ensure the other party acts within the terms of the agreement.

In response to client needs, Geoff and his team will interview key individuals, comb through both financial and non-financial information, review internal controls, examine policies and procedures for weaknesses, and review contract agreements to determine whether parties are acting within the terms of their contract. All of this evidence needs to be meticulously documented in case Geoff's claims are ever called into question and the courts need to decide the matter.

Geoff enjoys his work in forensic accounting. He says,

Every job is a new adventure and every client is different. My team and I are producing findings that will have a significant impact on companies and can make a difference in cleaning up fraudulent activities in the corporate world.

In a time when corporate fraud is headlining news, people can lose faith in big business, assuming all CEO's will commit fraud. Yet Geoff's work helps to prevent such activities from happening, and discover those who do misappropriate corporate funds, damaging the public's trust.

Geoff has recently been involved in fraud investigations at several not-for-profit organizations. In each case he and his team found evidence supporting the fraudulent behaviour claims and

the results led to the dismissal of various individuals and hopefully put an end to fraudulent activities in those organizations,

says Geoff. He has also provided an assessment of the adequacy of anti-fraud controls at a large international bank, by reviewing all their anti-fraud policies, identifying unaddressed fraud risks and providing recommendations to the bank. Geoff happily reports that

this bank has taken all the necessary steps to ensure that it has minimized its risk of fraud occurrences.

Forensic accounting isn't all Geoff is involved in. He also volunteers his time as a member of University of Waterloo's Accounting Alumni Association, is on the Board of Directors for Camp Ekon (a charitable summer camp in the Muskokas), is a Director for the Canadian Osteogenesis Imperfecta Society, and is a member of the Knights of Columbus. All this, plus a dedicated commitment to the Toronto night scene, a newfound interest in rock-climbing, boxing/wrestling, and fencing, and a plan to travel the world keeps Geoff a contented man.

Written by Jude Doble

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo

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