Since the end of the twentieth century, the public has grown increasingly aware and interested in the transparency of the accounting practices of private corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, as well as everything in between. To identify fraudulent activity, potential risks, and other financial inconsistencies or discrepancies, forensic accounting and qualified forensic accountants have increased in demand.
The Role of a Forensic Accountant
Forensic accountants perform a number of tasks in their roles. In order to meet the demands of the profession, there are a number of skills a professional in this area should have. Some of these skills include abilities in fraud examination, electronic investigation, electronic discovery, and auditing. In addition, employers look for candidates who have high standards for ethics and are able to comply with all regulations. Candidates who have experiences and training in fraud reporting and litigation, internal controls, and financial reporting are also sought by employers.
Forensic Accounting Degrees and Certifications
Prospective students interested in earning a degree in forensic accounting have many options. Because this profession is growing in demand, more and more colleges and universities, both online and on-campus, are beginning to offer programs. Students can choose from associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in forensic accounting.
The majority of entry-level and non-management positions in forensic accounting require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In a bachelor’s degree program for forensic accounting students take a number of general education and business courses. Once beginning the major course of study in the forensic accounting field, students will complete courses that typically include cost management, auditing, interviewing techniques for fraud investigation, quantitative methods, fraud examination, and legal elements of fraud.
Undergraduate and graduate degrees are also beneficial for preparing for professional certification after graduation. The Certified Fraud Examiner certification is one example. For additional information, please visit the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.
Career Possibilities in Forensic Accounting
Private corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations often employ forensic accountants to be on staff in order to protect the entity’s business and financial interests. From financial institutions to state governments, forensic accountants are able to identify when a threat to the integrity of the statements and accounting of financial records and money is occurring. Increasingly, police departments and federal law enforcement agencies are also employing a greater number of forensic accounting professionals.
There are a number of career possibilities that can be pursued after completing a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in forensic accounting. In addition to a forensic accountant, graduates can also find positions as accounting officers for private firms, independent forensic auditors, internal auditors, litigation experts, and internal auditors.
Forensic accountants put their skills and education to work in order to investigate and identify a number of crimes and potential crimes. These professionals are able to identify falsified or questionable financial data, track sources and destinations of funding for illegal activity, uncover cases of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, and much more. With a degree in forensic accounting, graduates have a fulfilled one of the requirements to enter into this high-demand profession.