Picalo – The Accounting Industry’s Answer to Fraud

Posted on 31. Jan, 2006 by in Accounting

I attended a lecture today by Conan Albrecht on using technology to detect fraud in a method called “Fraud Hypothesis Testing Approach.” It sounds like a mouthful, but the potential for detecting fraud using this method is enormous. As most people are aware, Accountants usually deny any responsibility for detecting fraud unless it’s staring them in the face during a routine audit. Shareholders, and the general public on the other hand, expect accountants and auditors to find fraud as part of their job.

Traditionally auditors have used tools such as Excel, ACL, or IDEA to analyze corporate data sets during an audit; however, these software packages don’t include the tools needed to detect fraud. During the past few years Conan has assembled his own set of fraud detecting tools that he used on various engagements. He recently combined those tools into one software program – Picalo – designed with programs and scripts that can easily detect fraud. There are three things that make this program absolutely essential. First, it’s free. Second, the program has the ability to create “Detectlets” which are customized scripts that are designed to find certain types of frauds – Phantom Vendors for example. These Detectlets can then be shared through the site with everyone else that uses the program. Users can potentially be equipped with hundreds of detectlets that can be used together to detect all types of fraud.

Finally, the program is easy to use but powerful enough to customize. The initial user interface and Detectlets are dummy-proof and walk you through the process – asking where the table that contains vendor information is, for example. However, if you would like to run your own scripts or dig a little deeper into the program’s capabilities the interface easily allows you to do it from the main window.

In summary, if you are in any capacity to detect or prevent fraud, download Picalo. Try it out and come back here to comment on how it went. I can almost guarantee that you will be impressed!

3 Responses to “Picalo – The Accounting Industry’s Answer to Fraud”

  1. John Bolten

    13. Jun, 2006

    I’ve downloaded and installed Picalo and am interested in it as an auditor and as a fraud examiner. However, I’m having trouble understanding the documentation – just at the moment, I’ve tried to use it to analyze some material in another language and can’t figure out how to change the encoding to show the language properly! Is there a forum for newbies to haunt?


  2. Conan Albrecht

    13. Jun, 2006

    Hi! I just saw this post. I’m the developer. We’re releasing some new documentation within the next week or so. It should be more readable for newer users.

    As for other languages, you’re the first user to try to load other languages. Picalo definitely supports unicode strings, so it does support other languages. I’ll look into encoding and post it to the user group at picalo.org (the user group will be up shortly as well. 🙂

  3. John Bolten

    16. Jun, 2006

    Hurrah! The Picalo forum is up and running!

    It’s a nice site here – I encountered it when I was looking for info on Picalo!


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