, PwC United Kingdom
What do you do?
I lead our London Mid-market Forensic Services business and have 17 years' experience as a forensic accountant leading large, complex investigations, gained in both the UK and numerous emerging markets.
Best brains in...
Helping clients to respond decisively to high profile fraud and integrity issues and helping to minimise the risk of similar problems happening again.
Highlight of your career so far?
The case I am most proud of was an investigation into an accounting breakdown at publically funded body, which threatened the continued existence of that body. We had to investigate and reconstruct the organisation's complex accounting records ensure a clean audit opinion was delivered under extremely tight timescales. Fraud and misconduct wasn't involved but the work was highly rewarding and intellectually challenging nonetheless!
Most clever fraudster you've faced?
They've not been caught yet but it’s surprising how you see the same methods again and again! The most ingenious was an accountant who had used a variety of schemes including paying his monthly salary each week, stealing signed blank cheques, setting himself up as a supplier on the company's purchase ledger, having a secret company credit card and a secret cash account with a local bureau de change!
What about outside the UK?
I've been lucky enough to travel to many interesting overseas locations with my work, including Brazil, Turkey, Uzbekistan, India, Egypt, Qatar, Kenya, and Uganda. The most interesting of these was in Nairobi where our local bodyguard resigned after the first day leaving us a little unnerved!
Best example of working with/for/against a regulator?
I've worked on both sides of the fence and have found that open co-operation with the regulator is almost always the most productive option for the client. This was illustrated in two recent cases involving Competition Regulators. We were able to reduce the extent of document requests (including e-mail) significantly by bringing our knowledge and independence to bear and having an honest and open dialogue with the regulator.
What is your definition of going the extra mile... and when have you done it?
On high profile investigations there are many different stakeholders who want to know our findings as a matter of utmost urgency. These are high pressure situations which always bring out the best in our people. Going the extra mile is about putting the client first and making sure they get what they need, when they need it.
What has been written or said about you that you're most proud of?
As part of all our personal development within PwC, we’re provided with anonymous feedback from the people we work with. The thoughts of people you work closely with on a day to day basis always resonate the most and I'm particularly proud of the following comment:
"Fran demonstrates courage in his conversations with clients, particularly when in client meetings. He is prepared to challenge client's thinking and give his own thoughts and examples to support his views. This approach very much contributes towards his excellent client relationships."