New York, January 15, 2001… Some may ask what is in a name, but for Michael G. Kessler it may have meant the start of something big.
Michael G. Kessler President and CEO of Kessler International, a world renowned Forensic Accounting and Investigative Consulting firm, began his lifelong career as a forensic accountant in the early 1970’s. At the time his title was different, but the job he performed was not unlike what he does today.
Kessler’s first job out of college was that of a field auditor for Associated Hospital Services of New York, which later became Blue Cross/Blue Shield. His job was to ferret out fraud and abuse committed by health care institutions and its employees against the Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance program. In those days health care facilities received reimbursement for the services they rendered based on a calculated rate derived from cost reports submitted to an insurance carrier. Kessler’s job was to visit hospitals and health care facilities to review and compare the original documentation of the facility reported on the cost report and ascertain if it properly reflected the actual revenue and expenses of the facility.
Mr. Kessler’s audits began uncovering significant fraud by the facilities he audited, so he was designated as one of the companies first field auditors specializing in investigative audits. Mr. Kessler, wanting to distinguish his role from other field auditors and of the accountants whose job was to certify the books and records of a facility, began calling himself an “Investigative Accountant,” a term he heard while working closely with the government’s accountants assigned to analyze his fraud findings. Kessler quickly realized that this title would not be accepted by individuals in the health care industry. It seemed no one felt comfortable in the hands of an “Investigative Auditor.” Kessler was now faced with a dilemma.
Kessler’s inspiration came from a very unlikely source. One night after watching his favorite show, “Columbo,” he found the resolution to his problem. To some viewers Columbo’s most memorable attribute was his crumpled raincoat, but for Michael G. Kessler, it was much more. Kessler realized that Peter Falk could quickly solicit the cooperation of defendants and solve cases using a gentle approach and the use of “forensic evidence.” Kessler thus began calling himself a “Forensic Auditor,” a term coined by Kessler, and now widely used within the industry. He found the result was as he had hoped and he was quickly accepted when he announced himself in the health care community.
The rest is history and today forensic accounting is one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, thanks to the insight of Michael G. Kessler and a very wise TV Detective.
Kessler International is the leader in international corporate investigation, offering a full line of specialty services. With worldwide offices and on staff specialists in Forensic Accounting, Computer Forensics, Risk Management and Corporate Investigation, Kessler International provides solutions to difficult business problems. For additional information, call Susan Peterson at 212 286-9100.