Forensic Accountant


 

 
Growth also is fueled by high-visibility corporate scandal; the news after September 11, 2001 that terrorists were exploiting the international banking system to transfer money; and advances in technology that have made it easier to detect financial crimes.
Forensic accountants investigate white-collar crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement; complex criminal financial transactions, including money laundering by organized criminals; and bankruptcies and contract disputes.
 
Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine whether an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.
 
Some employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree in accounting, or with a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.
 

Licensing:

For optimal career advancement, most states require accountants to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam post-degree after completing two years of supervised work under a CPA. Check with your state about the requirements to become a CPA.
 
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners offers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation for forensic or public accountants involved in fraud prevention, detection, deterrence and investigation. To obtain the designation, individuals must have a bachelor’s degree, two years of relevant experience, and pass a four-part examination.
 

Entering the Field:

Most beginning accountants and auditors work under the guidance of an experienced accountant (CPA) or auditor. You can begin by earning a diploma or certificate in accounting or bookkeeping and working as a bookkeeper’s assistant. You can also begin as a payroll clerk or accounts receivable or payable clerk.
 
Consider an associate degree in accounting or bookkeeping, followed by a bachelor’s in accounting as your career progresses. Those who earn a master’s in accounting or an MBA with a specialty in accounting or auditing will do extremely well.
 

Career Changers:

People who work in law enforcement and legal services are ideal candidates for a career change to forensic accounting and/or fraud examination. Office managers and those who are good with computers often specialize in accounting as their careers mature.
 

Find online degrees for Accounting here. >>

 

Source for salary and growth data is the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information on careers in forensic accounting and fraud examination, salaries, and job prospects visit: U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Accountants and Auditors.

 

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