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How to Become a Fraud Examiner | A Career Examination

Fraud Examiner checks accounts

Do you want to become a fraud examiner? The world of white-collar crime and fraud holds a fascination for many. The skills of a fraud examiner are in high demand. This article discusses the steps you need to become a fraud examiner. We will also discuss what kind of jobs you can find once you have completed your training.

What Is a Fraud Examiner?

A fraud examiner investigates financial crimes. They work with law enforcement to track down criminals and recover stolen money. To become one, you need to have a degree in accounting or a related field. You also need experience in auditing and investigative techniques. These professionals must also earn the rank of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

The job of a fraud examiner holds challenges but also many rewards. It’s important to have strong math skills and be able to think critically. If you’re interested in helping catch criminals and have a keen eye for details, this could be the perfect career for you.

Steps to Become a Fraud Examiner

Before you become a fraud examiner, the crucial steps you need to take include:

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Accounting or a Related Field

After graduating from high school, you will want to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting or another business-related field. This degree gives you the basic knowledge to work as a fraud examiner.

Coursework varies by program emphasis. But generally courses cover subjects such as:

  • Accounting principles
  • Fraud auditing
  • Asset misappropriation scams
  • Rules of compliance
  • Quantitative methods and analysis
  • General education requirements

You have a choice of numerous training programs. Try looking for accounting degrees, forensics degrees, and other related fields in business or criminal justice.

Such a degree from a competitive and prestigious university offers sophisticated coursework including:

  • Financial accounting
  • Tax planning and administration
  • Corporate valuation education

Step 2: Take the CPA Examination

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, you must take and pass the CPA Exam. This is a crucial step to becoming a fraud examiner. You must be certified as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) before becoming licensed by your state board of accountancy.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) offers several different certifications for those who want to specialize in specific areas such as tax planning or auditing.

Step 3: Gain Professional Experience in Your Field

Before becoming a fraud examiner, you need to gain professional experience in your field. This is an essential step to becoming a fraud examiner. It also helps provide the necessary training that employers are looking for when hiring new employees.

Step 4: Get Licensed as a Fraud Examiner

After you take and pass the CPA Exam, it’s essential to get licensed as a fraud examiner. Your state board of accountancy or other professional accounting association provides this licensing. Being licensed gives you credibility when working with clients and employers.

Each state has different requirements for licensure. Therefore, make sure to check with your state board of accountancy for more information on what you need.

Step 5: Get a Master’s Degree (MBA) or Other Advanced Degree

To be competitive in the marketplace, you must get an advanced degree such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration). This will give you credibility when working with clients and employers and help you stand out from other applicants.

Different types of MBAs exist. You can choose between a traditional MBA program or an accelerated one. Traditional programs take two years of study, while one-year accelerated programs offer more flexibility for those working full-time jobs or with family obligations. You can find online MBA programs that meet your needs.

Education for Fraud Examiners

The road to becoming a fraud examiner requires extensive training and learning. You need to have a bachelor’s degree in forensic accounting or a related field. A master’s degree offers even more benefits.

An advanced degree will help you understand complex financial investigations. It will also help you develop the necessary skill set to pursue a career in this field.

Beneficial Degrees to this Career

Various degrees lend themselves to this career. They include:

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

A bachelor’s degree in accounting provides the knowledge necessary to perform audits and financial statement analyses. This degree also provides an understanding of business law, fraud prevention, and accounting regulations. You must understand legal principles as a fraud examiner.

Although you can substitute other degrees for this position, such as finance or criminal justice, employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration

A business administration degree teaches important marketing, management, and human resources skills. This knowledge benefits frad examiners because they often work with businesses to investigate fraud.

Additionally, a business administration degree provides a strong foundation for those who wish to pursue a career in accounting. Most employers prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree when hiring for this position.

Master’s Degree in Forensic Accounting or Criminology

Employers look for individuals who can analyze financial data and spot criminal behavior. A master’s degree in forensic accounting or criminology provides the education necessary for these tasks. Having this degree may give you an edge over other candidates when applying.

Bachelor of Criminology

Criminology, the study of criminal behavior, benefits fraud examiners because it reveals why criminals commit fraud as well as their methods.

In addition, criminology courses often cover topics such as law enforcement, corrections, and victimology, which play a significant role for those working in forensics.

Bachelor’s Degree in Finance

A finance degree teaches important skills such as investing, risk management, and bank operations. This knowledge is beneficial to fraud examiners. That’s because it can help detect fraudulent activity by analyzing financial records for discrepancies or inconsistencies.

In addition, a finance degree may provide a strong foundation for those who wish to pursue a career in accounting.

Special Certifications for Fraud Examiners

Yes, you might need several special certifications to become a fraud examiner. You need to know that these special certifications can vary widely depending on the state in which you reside.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

As the most common certification for fraud examiners, it requires significant training. This essential certificate provides the skills and knowledge to analyze a company’s financial situation.

To obtain your CPA certification, you must fulfill certain educational requirements. You need an undergraduate degree in accounting from an accredited institution. You also need one year of work experience under a certified accountant.

Once you meet these criteria, you can apply for your CPA license by taking the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) test.

Accredited Business Valuation (ABV) Certification

This certificate helps when you want to advance your career in forensic accounting. To earn an ABV, you must first have your CPA. Then you must complete additional coursework to become an expert on business valuation and pass another exam.

The Certified Fraud Examiner or CFE designation

Fraud examiners and investigators find the CFE useful. The certificate offers prestige from being associated with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. To obtain this award, one must go through extensive background checks, attend courses on anti-fraud measures, and pass an exam.

Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

This certification can be beneficial for anyone in accounting, particularly fraud examiners. It allows an accountant to become certified as a specialist in information systems auditing.

Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation

The CFA proves valuable for those who want to become fraud examiners. The certificate comes after passing a rigorous three-part exam and meeting other requirements. These include having at least four years of professional work experience in the investment industry.

What it’s Like Being a Fraud Examiner

Being a fraud examiner can be interesting, exciting, and rewarding. It can also be frustrating, challenging, and even dangerous at times. But what is it like to work in this field?

Fraud examiners investigate financial crimes. This may include conducting audits, reviewing documents, and interviewing suspects. They often work with law enforcement to help track down criminals and recover stolen funds.

Fraud examiners specialize in detecting and preventing fraud. They typically work for banks, insurance companies, or other businesses susceptible to fraud schemes. They identify red flags and investigate suspicious activity.

Roles of a Fraud Examiner

These professionals work towards finding fraudulent activity in the financial realm. Fraud examiners take many steps in this quest. Below we explain some of these steps:

Compiling Financial Evidence

A fraud examiner compiles financial evidence to support or refute a fraud charge. They work with accountants, auditors, and investigators to identify fraudulent activities and track the movement of money.

Fraud examiners often testify as expert witnesses in court proceedings. Their findings can help determine the guilt or innocence of defendants in a criminal case. They can also assist in civil litigation.

Developing Computer Applications to Manage Data

Fraud examiners use computer applications to manage collected information. They develop custom software or use existing programs to help them analyze data, identify patterns, and track down criminals. Businesses and individuals rely on the work of fraud examiners to protect them from crime.

Communicate Findings in the Form of Reports and Presentations

Fraud examiners must communicate their findings in reports or presentations. They need to clearly explain the evidence they have found and how it supports or refutes a legal case. This vital work can often differentiate a criminal’s guilt or innocence.

Preparing Visual Aids to Support Trial Evidence

Fraud examiners prepare visual aids to support trial evidence. They may use software programs such as PowerPoint or Excel to create charts and graphs. Also, other visual aids can help explain their findings in court. Such visual aids may include photos, videos, and other images to help jurors better understand the case.

Assist with the Preparation of Deposition Questions

Fraud examiners also prepare deposition questions. These professionals can help to ensure that depositions contain all relevant information.

A fraud examiner who has worked on many cases over the years will be able to anticipate what types of questions might come up during a particular investigation. This is important because it ensures that no crucial evidence is overlooked during discovery (when one side requests documents from another).

What Skills Does a Person Need in This Career?

Various skills benefit a fraud examiner. Below are some of the most vital skills you need to have.

Detail-Oriented

As a fraud examiner, you’ll be responsible for investigating complex financial crimes. This means you’ll need to have a keen eye for detail and the ability to analyze large amounts of data.

Fraudsters are often very clever and can mislead investigators. Therefore, you must piece together evidence accurately to build a strong case against them.

Critical Thinking Skills

To determine whether or not someone has committed fraud, you’ll need to use critical thinking skills. You must be able to assess information logically and come up with plausible explanations for any discrepancies.

Strong Math Skills

Fraud examiners are often required to perform complex mathematical calculations. This includes calculating the net value of a company’s assets and the rate of return on investment. They must also calculate the amount of financial loss. Being able to perform such calculations accurately is essential for this career.

Communication Skills

To become a fraud examiner, you must have strong communication skills. For investigations to be successful, you’ll need to work with other people and explain your findings clearly.

It’s important that when conducting an investigation, you can collaborate with other professionals such as lawyers and police officers. This helps resolve cases successfully.

You may also need to communicate with victims of fraud and help them understand what has happened. This requires good listening skills and the ability to empathize with others.

When communicating technical information (such as financial data), it’s essential that all parties fully understand the information. Otherwise, mistakes could occur. Mistakes could derail an active investigation.

Interviewing Skills

To build a strong case against a fraudster, you’ll need to interview them. This can be tricky as the person may mislead or deceive you. You’ll need to have good interviewing skills to get the most out of these conversations.

Reading people and seeing through any lies they tell is essential for this career. You must remain calm under pressure, as interviews sometimes grow quite tense.

Problem-Solving Skills

Investigating a financial crime can be challenging. You may have lots of information and evidence that needs sifting through. Only after assessing it can you draw conclusions. Being able to solve problems efficiently helps with this process significantly.

Multiple factors come into play when investigating complex financial crimes. Tax evasion or money laundering schemes may come into play. Many times fraud occurs over periods longer than one year. In this case, you will need strong analytical abilities to spot patterns within data sets that could indicate fraudulent activity.

Work Environment for this Career

Fraud examiners usually work in an office setting. They may have to put in long hours, especially with an ongoing investigation. The work can be stressful and demanding at times. Fraud examiners must also testify in court, which can be stressful.

Fraud examiners who work for the government likely have a 40-hour workweek. Those that are self-employed or own their own business have more fluctuating schedules depending on how much they need to travel, when investigations arise, etc.

Some fraud examiners find themselves working with criminals or criminal cases with a lot of tension. Therefore, you must take specific safety measures, especially if working as an investigator in the field. You should take precautionary steps such as carrying identification at all times. This helps law enforcement officials know who you are without question.

Benefits of Being a Fraud Examiner

Being a fraud examiner comes with a lot of benefits. While these perks may vary depending on where you work, this career offers a lot. Some of these benefits include:

  • Working with attorneys and law enforcement agencies. As a fraud examiner, you will likely have the privilege of working with attorneys and law enforcement agencies to investigate white-collar crimes.
  • Helping to protect businesses. You help companies stay safe from fraudsters and maintain their financial security by investigating financial crimes.
  • Working in various industries. No two cases are the same. Hence, fraud examiners have the opportunity to work in a variety of industries.
  • Enhancing your investigative skills. The job of a fraud examiner requires meticulous attention to detail and strong investigative skills. This means that working as one can help improve your overall investigative abilities.
  • Using your expert witness skills. As a fraud examiner, you may find yourself called to court as an expert witness. This means that you will have the chance to help judges and juries understand complex financial information related to crimes.
  • Developing your presentation skills. Fraud examiners often give presentations about their cases before other professionals or jurors. Therefore, working can help build your overall public speaking and presentation skills.

Average Salary

According to the 2020 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fraud examiners earn around $81,430 per year. That means they make approximately $39.15 per hour.

Opportunities for Advancement

Opportunities for advancement abound for fraud examiners. You can climb the career ranks from an investigator assistant, fraud examiner, forensic accounting manager, executive, etc.

The promotion process depends on employers. But many companies like to hire internally when a vacant position opens up at their company. Most often, having good interpersonal skills will help you advance in your career. Communicating effectively with clients and other individuals within the office setting is important for advancement opportunities.

What Is Needed to Advance in this Career?

If you’re already a fraud examiner and now you want to advance in this career, there are various things you’ll need to do.

  1. First, make sure you have a strong understanding of financial crimes.
  2. Next, specialize in an area of forensics you’re interested in. This could be auditing and accounting fraud, business valuation, computer crime, or economic crime investigations.
  3. Continue building your skills by attending professional conferences and networking with other forensic professionals.
  4. Earning a master’s degree in accounting or forensic accounts can also help you advance in this career.
  5. Finally, consider applying for special certifications, which can help boost your credibility and improve job prospects.

FAQs

How Long Does It Take to Become a Fraud Examiner?

Becoming a fraud examiner may not take as long as you think. It depends on what kind of education you already have. The first step is earning an undergraduate degree in accounting (or another related field). That means it may take you four years to become a fraud examiner.

Who Hires FRaud Examiners?

Organizations hire fraud examiners to conduct investigations and audits. Individuals or families may also hire them to investigate suspicious activity. Corporate attorneys, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) hire fraud examinerss.

is Fraud Examination in Demand?

Demand is high for fraud examiners. This is due to the increasing number of white-collar crimes. As businesses become more complex, criminals develop more complex financial schemes to steal money. Fraud examiners use their knowledge of accounting and finance to track down these criminals and help return stolen funds to their rightful owners.

Fraud examiners will see an increase in employment by 18 percent from 2020 to 2030. This is faster than the overall employment growth rate.

Over the decade, approximately 6,900 openings for financial examiners are expected each year on average. Many of these jobs will be available due to staff transfers to new professions or retirement.

Conclusion

To pursue a career as a fraud examiner, you must have strong accounting and investigative skills. You should also be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines. These careers can be both challenging and rewarding. The good thing is that they can also offer many growth opportunities.

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