What an FBI agent specializing in accounting does will depend on their specific department, but most will perform audit, fraud and forensic duties. Here are four of the most common FBI-based accounting jobs.
Forensic accountants plan, implement and oversee complex auditing investigations that support litigation activities. They analyze paper and digital bank, financial and business records. They use database tools to extract and summarize quantitative data that is transformed into financial models that are used in litigation. They also research and analyze qualitative data relevant and provide reports summarizing the results. Forensic accountants conduct quality reviews of previous and current work projects to ensure data accuracy and integrity is maintained. Forensic accountants are usually Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or Certified Fraud Examiner (CFEs), according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. They must have expert knowledge of common fraud schemes and data analysis techniques. They also need to have the demonstrated ability to manage simultaneously complex and time critical projects.
Today’s businesses are plagued by financial fraud and corruption. These businesses realize that maintaining the public’s trust is one of the keys to commercial success, so they employ investigative accountants to strategically manage the complexities of risks and threats. Investigative accountants scrutinize fraudulent activities, assist senior management with risk management and strive to mitigate potential vulnerabilities. Investigate accountants often respond to fraud allegations and reported financial irregularities. They adopt a strategic threat management approach that enables them to anticipate and respond to risks. They apply advanced technology approaches to help internal customers track and manage data activities. They employ information management principles, data analytics techniques and sophisticated technology tools to help management make well-informed decisions.
Internal auditors in the FBI often focus on federal employees and contractors. They work with management to create the audit scope, strategy, budget and approach for various projects. They oversee audits that focus on the analysis of business data, company systems and contractor performance. Internal auditors set the strategic direction every audit project’s value and purpose. This means that they sometimes focus on testing functional methodologies, but other times focus on financial transparency and federal best practices. In order to receive and monitor real-time data across the country, they develop monitoring and self-reporting programs. Internal auditors set official quality standards for accounting personnel to ensure that financial work is properly performed and clearly documented.
Forensic accountants perform important financial investigation activities. They are key members of financial task forces who investigative white-collar criminal activities. They assist federal clients with conducting interviews, planning and analysis during the course of federal investigations. They must accurately identify all parties involved in the criminal activity during the course of the financial investigation. Forensic accountants review complex financial and business records to support federal prosecutions. They obtain raw criminal intelligence from various resources, statistically correlate the data and then produce full reports of the information. For instance, they may use their financial forensic skills to investigate the financial infrastructure of organized criminal syndicates, which includes their money moving methods and professional money laundering techniques.
What an FBI Agent specializing in accounting does ultimately is determined by their actual job position, but all FBI accountants will support anti-corruption and law enforcement activities.