What is Forensic Accounting?

forensic accounting

Are you interested in learning more about forensic accounting? If you are studying accounting in school and you would like to choose a field to pursue, it is important to review all of your options first. Forensic accountants need both accounting skills and investigative skills to be successful in their careers. You will need special knowledge, skills and abilities, most of which you can learn in school, to qualify for open forensic accounting positions. Read on to learn more about the role of the forensic accountant and requirements to become one so that you are prepared to enter the field.

What is the Role of the Forensic Accountant Professional?

A forensic accountant is an investigative professional who uses their expansive knowledge of accounting to help lawyers, law enforcement agencies and other financial institutions investigate fraud and take the case to court. By providing litigation support to various different agencies and institutions, the forensic accountant can help thwart fraudulent activity and ultimately help prosecutors punish the individuals responsible.

Forensic accountants have several different tasks on a daily basis. It is common for these professionals to identify assets so that they can be recovered by tracing funds. These professionals will also perform financial analysis and prepare reports from the findings to help in legal cases. If needed, the professional may also be asked to testify in court for the prosecution. If you have ever wanted to be an accountant and still work with the judicial system, this could be the perfect career for you.

What Skills Does a Forensic Accountant Need?

You should always consider the set of skills that you need to succeed in any field. As a forensic accountant, you should be analytical, objective, and talented at verbal and written communication. You will need to be a skilled report writer and investigator. You will also need to be organized, detail-oriented, and able to testify as an expert witness in a court setting. You will need to know about subjects like: white collar crime, check kiting, money laundering, insurance claim fraud, financial statement fraud, credit card fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcy fraud and other financial crime.

How to Become a Forensic Accountant

If this sounds like the career for you, the first step to starting a career in the field is to get an education. You can pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance. Some schools even offer specific forensic accounting degrees. Earning your Master’s degree or taking minor courses in law enforcement or criminal justice can also give you leverage in the field. A majority of companies who are offering positions at a firm will require that you are a Certified Fraud Examiner or Certified Public Accountant.


The demand for experienced forensic accountants is on the rise as more and more law enforcement agencies at the local or federal level are prosecuting financial fraud and crime. If you want to fill this demand, you will need to start by earning your degree. Once you have a degree, and 1 to 3 years of experience in an accounting role, you can pursue a position in forensic accounting.

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