If you’re thinking about becoming a forensic accountant, you may be wondering what careers in forensic accounting there are. This type of accounting can be difficult, but rewarding. We’ve done some research and we’re here to help you understand what forensic accounting is and what kind of jobs you can expect to find in the field.
What is Forensic Accounting?
Forensic accountants are accountants that combine general accounting knowledge with investigative skills in many different settings. These types of accountants can be employed by public and private accounting firms, law enforcement agencies, private companies, financial institutions, and government organizations.
Accountants in this area combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They perform research to trace funds, identify assets, and they conduct forensic analysis of financial data. They prepare reports and findings, and also prepare data for litigation; testifying if necessary.
How Do You Become a Forensic Accountant?
At the very least, a bachelor’s degree is required in becoming a forensic accountant. Your degree should be in forensic accounting, accounting, finance, or any other related fields. Some employers may require a master’s degree, especially when looking for a career in government or law enforcement agencies.
If you’re seeking a career that involves the law, seeking a degree in criminal justice can be a plus. Many employers also expect their forensic accountants to hold certifications like a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), Chartered Accountant (CA), or Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
Forensic accountants must have a working knowledge of the legal system, fraud, financial analysis, and report writing. They must be able to possibly testify in court and provide legal documents. Overall, forensic accountants should have superior written and oral communication skills, great attention to detail, and a highly analytical mind. They must also be able to work independently and on time restraints.
What Careers are in Forensic Accounting?
Forensic accountants can be employed in a wide a variety of settings. They can be found in public/private companies, law firms, law enforcement/government agencies, and more. They may be consultants that specialize in risk management, or researchers working for a law firm. Forensic accountants can provide their research findings to boardrooms, courtrooms, and other legal/administrative venues according to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.
These kinds of accountants can work in governmental departments investigating financial histories of criminals, building financial profiles of suspects, gathering evidence, tracking funding sources, and meeting with prosecutors. They can also work for accounting firms uncovering fraud, performing computer forensics, and quantifying financial losses.
Forensic accountants can also work in the corporate security/risk management field protecting financial assets, analyzing changes in financial law, ensuring corporate compliance, and performing audits. At law firms, they can act as consultants on financial issues and conduct audits. Financial consulting firms allow forensic accountants to investigate fraud, analyze financial records, assess vulnerability, and address embezzlement allegations.
The field of forensic accounting can be difficult and complex, but always rewarding. As an accountant in this area you can help stop criminals, help earn corporations money, or help your employer invest wisely. There are many different careers in forensic accounting, found in a wide variety of environments. If you’re looking for an exciting, worth-while life, a career in forensic accounting could be for you.