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SAME-SAME-SAME TEST

The purpose of the same-same-same (SSS) test is to identify abnormal duplications as potential indicators of errors or fraud.

This test is based on Chapter 12 of Mark J. Nigrini's book, Forensic Analytics: Methods and Techniques for Forensic Accounting Investigations.8

Application of this test assists in detecting duplicate expenses claimed, occurrences of the same payment to vendors made in error, multiple warranty claims, or duplicated service fees paid by private or government health plans.

IDEA has a Duplicate Key Detection option, as displayed in Figure 5.35. It can output duplicate records or its inverse of outputting records without duplicates. Up to eight fields may be selected by the auditor to match.

Duplicate Key Detection for Same Supplier Number, Supplier Name, Authorizing Individual, and Payment Date

FIGURE 5.35 Duplicate Key Detection for Same Supplier Number, Supplier Name, Authorizing Individual, and Payment Date

From the payment data set, we perform the test where the supplier number, supplier name, the authorizing personnel, and the payment date are all the same.

The output in Figure 5.36 displays six records of three pairs that match the test criteria. Why are two separate checks made out to the same vendor on the same day? They were even authorized by the same people. If these are not errors, then, at the very least, they are inefficient. This file provides the auditor with records to further review.

Results of the Duplicate Key Detection Test

FIGURE 5.36 Results of the Duplicate Key Detection Test

SAME-SAME-DIFFERENT TEST

The same-same-different (SSD) test is used to identify records with near duplicates for fields selected by the auditor. The auditor may select up to eight fields to match and one field that is excluded from the matching.

Mark Nigrini states, "The same-same-different test is a powerful test for errors and fraud. This test should be considered for every forensic analytics project." His experience has shown that, "This test always detects errors in accounts payable data" and "The longer the time period, the higher the chances of SSD detecting errors."9

One example that demonstrates the value of this test is in the detection of instances where a payment is made to a wrong vendor initially and then subsequently the correct vendor is properly paid (same invoice number, same amount, but different vendors). The auditor needs to follow-up whether the payment was recovered from the vendor who was paid incorrectly.

IDEA has a Duplicate Key Exclusion feature as shown in Figure 5.37.

The built-in Duplicate Key Exclusion feature of IDEA is simple and easy to use. However, it is limited, as it does not display more than one exclusion. A manual approach can be employed. The output of this manual approach will be compared to the output of the Duplicate Key Exclusion feature at the end of this section.

For both methods, the fields that must match are invoice date (INV_DATE), client number (CLIENT_NO), and the product code (PROD_CODE). The field that must be different is the sales representative (SALESREP). The SSD test is applied to the "Sales Transactions" database.

Step 1. Summarize all fields, including the one that needs to be different (SALESREP) as shown in Figure 5.38. Call the new file "Summarization SSD-1."

Step 2. Use the Duplicate Key Detection feature of IDEA with defined key for all fields that must match being INV_DATE, CLIENT_NO, and PROD_CODE, as in Figure 5.39. Call the file "Duplicate SSD-2."

Step 3. Join using the "Sales Transactions" database as the primary file with the Join SSD-3 file as the secondary database. Match Key Fields should include the fields of INV_DATE, CLIENT_NO, PROD_CODE, and SALESREP, as displayed in Figure 5.40. Use the "Matches only" join option. This will give us all the transactions that relate to the SSD test rather than only the first transaction that IDEA's Duplicate Key Exclusion provides. Call this final file "Join SSD-3."

IDEA shows one unique exclusion and omits the rest when using Duplicate Key Exclusion, as shown in the top screen for record numbers 3 and 4 in Figure 5.41 . By

Duplicate Key Exclusion for Same Invoice Date, Client Number, and Product Code but Different Sales Representative

FIGURE 5.37 Duplicate Key Exclusion for Same Invoice Date, Client Number, and Product Code but Different Sales Representative

Summarize All the Fields to Be Tested That Include Both the Required Same Field and the Different Field

FIGURE 5.38 Summarize All the Fields to Be Tested That Include Both the Required Same Field and the Different Field

Summarize All the Fields to Be Tested That Include Both the Required Same Field and the Different Field

FIGURE 5.39 Find the Duplicates by Using Idea's Duplicate Key Detection for Fields That Must Be the Same

using summarization, duplicate key detection, and then joining the duplicate key detection to the original data set, you will see all the results relating to SSD as shown on the bottom screen for record numbers 5, 6, and 7.

Putting Together the Files for the Same-Same-Different Test

FIGURE 5.40 Putting Together the Files for the Same-Same-Different Test

Comparing the Built-in Duplicate Key Exclusion Test and the Manually Created Same-Same-Different Test

FIGURE 5.41 Comparing the Built-in Duplicate Key Exclusion Test and the Manually Created Same-Same-Different Test

If a business system does not process orders in real time, this example may indicate customers attempting to split their orders to avoid exceeding their credit limit (same invoice date, same customer number, same product code, and different sales representatives).

 
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