Careers in Accounting – Forensic

Forensic accountants investigate financial crimes by combining accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine illegalities such as securities fraud, embezzlement, bankruptcies, and contract disputes. Forensic accountants are a type of public accountant, and usually work with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations, and testify as expert witnesses during trials.

The median annual wage for accountants and auditors as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is $61,690, and is expected to grow 16% between 2010 and 2020. Keep in mind, however, that salaries and job opportunities vary due to factors such as area, occupation, and employer.

Required Education for Forensic Accounting

Forensic accountants must be analytical and organized, and make frequent use of mathematical skills to interpret facts and figures. They will also be required to communicate to clients, managers, law enforcement personnel, and lawyers. An accounting bachelor’s degree or a business administration bachelor’s degree with a concentration in accounting will provide the ability to interpret financial information to diagnose accounting problems and recognize regulatory dilemmas.

Forensic accountants learn audit procedures to detect fraud through basic financial statement schemes and red flags of financial statement fraud. A forensic accountant may require work experience before applying for a Certified Public Accountant License, depending on the state, and must pass a national exam and meet the requirements of the state’s Board of Accountancy before being licensed as a CPA. A CPA designation is one of the requirements to be certified as a forensic accountant through the American College of Forensic Examiners International, which also requires ACFEI membership, registration with the State Board of Accountancy if required by the state law, and compliance with all local ordinances, state laws, and federal regulations.

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