What is a Forensic Accountant?
In a world populated by companies like Enron and their executives, forensic accountants have become a necessity. Enron employees and the general public have to be protected from this type of cooked book accounting. This is the job of the forensic accountant.
Forensic accounting is where accounting meets criminal justice. Forensic accounting combines the knowledge of accounting, law, and investigation to uncover financial crimes that can stand up to legal scrutiny in the court of law. The duties encompass the following:
1. Investigation and Analysis of Financial Evidence
2. Communication of Findings in Reports and Exhibits
3. Litigation Support that Includes Testifying in the Court of Law
4. Dispute Resolution Between Parties by Quantifying Accounting Records
5. Making sure client-attorney confidentiality is maintained
6. Forensic Audit to Look Beyond Financial Audit Numbers
The forensic accountant, also known as financial crime investigators, must be inquisitive, persistent, and be able to look beyond the surface. As stated above, they must also be able to maintain confidentiality as any evidence they encounter may be used in the court of law. Otherwise, the evidence could be thrown out of court and could lead to a white collar criminal being set free.
How to Become a Forensic Accountant:
To become a forensic accountant, you will need a college degree. Since this is a hot and growing field, there are now forensic accounting degrees being offered by colleges. The quickest degree to get to get a foothold in the profession is a forensic accounting associate degree. You can then get your forensic accounting bachelors degree after this.
Most employers would expect you to get certification. Forensic accounting certification involves taking and passing Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) certification exam. It would also not be a bad idea to become a Chartered Accountant. After getting certified and getting a job, you may then want to look into a masters degree in forensic accounting. This will help move up the career ladder and earn more money.
Forensic Accountant Salary:
Entry level forensic accountants can earn as much as $40,000 per year. After a few years of experience, the pay can go up to $80,000 per year. As with any profession, there are high income earners in the profession. These forensic accountants can make as much as $150,000 per year. Now this is what we call money. You really cannot do badly in this profession. It is hot and in demand!
Forensic Accounting School:
Like we said above, there are schools that now offer forensic accounting degree. Some of them are even online. Rasmussen College offers forensic accounting online degree. Though, they call it financial investigations degree. You can check them out by following this link.
Another school that offers forensic accounting degree online is Utica College. It is called Economic Crime Investigations, which deals with forensic accounting or financial crimes investigations. You can check out Utica College by following this link.
Criminal Justice Careers