Let’s say you receive a $25 iTunes gift card for high school graduation on May 21. After you send a thank-you card on May 25, your mom lets you redeem the card. Then, from May 25 to Aug. 25, you proceed to make nine purchases and spend a whopping $48.99 at iTunes—including a Sack of Gems for Clash of Clans at $20.59. This is all based on the idea that you have $25 in your iTunes account. (Who covered that extra $23.99? Mom’s debit card, what else.)
When mom starts to wonder why she’s paying for yet another Five Finger Death Punch song, she starts to ask about all these iTunes purchases. You blame your brother, even though he’s more addicted to Kindle Fire apps. Maybe Dad bought that song, you suggest. You are sure you only spent that $25…
Well, little do you know that Mom forwards every iTunes receipt that comes into her email to her FileThis account. To investigate, she types “iTunes” into the Search box in her FileThis Documents tab. Whoa—118 receipts! She adds the name of the culprit, “Robert” to her search. Now we’re looking at 25 receipts. By adding the relevant date criteria, she filters the receipts down to purchases from May, June, July and August 2014. A quick preview of the receipts and she comes up with $48.99!
Now, imagine this forensic accounting power at work on a serious issue—like what is going on with our milk delivery bill! Who is ordering all that chocolate milk?
Kelly Kordes Anton is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Littleton, Colorado. She specializes in financial education and publishing technologies.