Career Profile: Forensic Accounting
Updated By Staff Writer on March 30, 2020
Forensic Accountants: The Detectives of Financial Crime
Some complex financial conflicts and crimes require enough sleuthing that expert help is called in. Forensic accountants, the detectives of the accounting industry, help solve such crimes and help settle financial conflicts. They can be an integral part of many financial investigations.
What Forensic Accountants Do
When working with public or private accounting firms, the government, law enforcement agencies, and personal lawyers to unravel isolated or large-scale financial claims and crimes, a forensic accountant performs a very important job. These professionals are also sometimes called investigative accountants or expert accountants. As a forensic accountant, you could be involved in evidence recovery, confiscation, and analyzation in financial litigation cases. Your skills could be requested when quantification of damages is needed, and you could be involved in resolving legal disputes, resulting in settlements or court decisions. You could even be called on to testify as an expert witness in a court of law.
Get the Right Education
To prepare for a career in forensic accounting, a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a forensic accounting emphasis could be your best path. This program will teach you the essential knowledge and skills required to position yourself for success in this exciting field. In addition to typical accounting classes, your accounting degree program with an emphasis in forensic accounting could include courses like the following:
- Fraud Examination
- Business Law
- Corporate Governance and Internal Control Assessment
- Legal Elements of Fraud
- Accounting Research and Analysis
- Interviewing Techniques for Fraud Investigation
Advanced Education and Certifications
If you’d like to continue your educational path beyond a bachelor’s degree to open more career doors, consider the following options:
- Getting additional education in criminal justice or law enforcement could help you more fully understand the system in which you could work.
- Obtaining a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree could be beneficial for advancing in the industry.
- Many companies encourage accountants to earn their Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and/or Chartered Accountant (CA) credentials.
Investing in and successfully completing these degrees, courses, and certifications could open many doors for you in the forensic accounting field.
Forensic accountants often begin their careers by working as public accountants for a few years. This gives them time to gain general accounting experience before they specialize in forensic accounting and litigation support. Combined with public accounting experience, an accounting degree with a forensic accounting emphasis puts you in a good place to specialize in several possible areas:
- Fraud and embezzlement
- Money laundering
- Breach of contract or breach of warranty
- Post-acquisition disputes
- Business valuation
- Employee theft
- Falsification of financial statement information
- Royalty audits
- Bankruptcy disputes
- Construction claims
- Negligence claims
- Insurance claims
- Personal injury claims
- Spousal and child support claims
By drawing on a combination of your educational background, your work experience, and your innate investigative intuition, you could play an important role in helping prevent, detect, and prosecute illegal financial activity. Contact Independence University for information on getting your Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a Forensic Accounting emphasis. This flexible, online degree program takes only 36 months to finish! For graduation rates, the median debt of graduates, and other data, see www.independence.edu/student-information. Independence University admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.