Various characteristics can be observed in the financials and the behaviour of companies engaging in accounting irregularities. This article explores the usefulness of such characteristics by analysing the financial statements of five companies accused of alleged accounting irregularities. The analysis involves quantitative and qualitative analyses for each of the companies, compared to a relevant control sample. The quantitative study consisted of financial statement analyses. The qualitative study involved an analysis of the narrative reports that form part of the published annual report. Nine of the characteristics initially identified were not reliable indicators of accounting irregularities. However, the nine remaining characteristics were positive indicators for the detection of accounting irregularities. Eight additional characteristics, not initially identified, were noted as potential indicators of accounting irregularities.