Forensic Accountants Job Description
What Is Forensic Accounting?

Learn what forensic accountants do & how to start a forensic accounting career. Engaging, exciting & investigative, forensic accounting's a unique career for unique individuals.

This sure is a rewarding career--the pay is good, the answers are black and white, and the job is capable of serving justice to those who rightfully deserve it.

As with most jobs in the world of criminal justice, you can feel good about yourself and what you're doing when you work in this field.

If you're interested in joining the proud ranks of certified forensic accountant specialists, it would be a really good idea to take the time to learn more about the profession.

After all, the more prepared you are, the better your chances for success will be.

Forensic Accounting Degree

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forensic accountant

Like most forensic careers, this one requires a great deal of training. You need to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr.FA).

But even before doing all that, you need to get your college degree.

To work ain this field, you are required to complete no less than 24 credit hours in the study of accounting while earning your bachelor's degree.

This can certainly be done while you study something else as your major, but it is highly recommended that you put the majority of your focus on accounting.

With a bachelor's degree and your certifications, you will be qualified to work, but if you go the extra mile and earn a master's degree, you will open wide the possibilities for career advancement and employment opportunities.

What is Forensic Accounting?

The forensic accountant is an investigator with one foot in the world of accounting and the other in the world of criminal justice. This person is capable of bridging the gap between the two worlds to analyze financial evidence used in criminal investigations or legal disputes and provide relevant findings.

This career requires enduring a grueling schooling process and training period.

Not only do you need to earn your college degrees, but you must also become certified by a number of organizations and institutions.

Qualifications of a Forensic Accountant

It takes a certain kind of person to be a successful in this field. First, you need the dedication & perseverance to succeed through years of schooling and training. But then, because of the unique nature of this career, you also have to have specific personality traits in order to do the job well.

Chief among these traits is ownership of a great deal of creativity, perseverance, discretion, curiosity, organization, and attention to detail.

History of Forensic Accounting

history of forensic accounting

As far back as ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh employed people who were responsible for keeping track of all his assets. These employees were tasked with making sure the Pharaoh's gold, gems, and other precious resources were always accounted for.

In more recent times, accountants have made a splash in the history pages of high-profile criminal cases.

An accountant was first called to be a witness at a criminal trial in 1817, and in 1824, a man from Scotland advertised his accounting services to those who worked in the legal sector, ostensibly becoming the first forensic accountant for hire.

Even though Egypt's Pharaoh had them employed thousands of years ago, it wasn't until the 1940's, however, when the term forensic accountant was first used.

Salary for Forensic Accounting

Unlike a lot of other professions within the world of law and order, the salary scale in this forensics field isn't incredibly wide. This is so because other professions are made of numerous specialists, while the forensic accountant is its own specialty.

The average salaries for forensic accountants are as follows:

  • Up to 1 year of experience - $35,000 to $50,000 per year
  • 1-3 years of experience - $40,000 to $70,000 per year
  • Managerial FAs - $55,000 to $110,000 per year

Of course there are certainly ways in which you can earn larger pay checks than those outlined above.

As always, by getting as much training as possible, you can become qualified for a higher pay grade when you join the profession after school--yet another reason to work for a master's degree as well as a bachelor's.

Find a School!

Think a career in criminology is for you?

Then start here & find a school for you!

Forensic Accounting Career

forensic accounting career

Being successful in this career path is not easy--there are many long hours you need to put into your education and training--but the rewards are certainly worth the effort. The pay is good, the work is interesting, and your job involves the lock-up of the guilty and the acquittal of the innocent.

Your duties and responsibilities are generally the same all the time, but you can work in a variety of different places, for a number of organizations, agencies, and corporations.

Some of the different places you can work include:

  • Law enforcement
  • Big Business
  • Small business
  • And every level of government.

Forensic Accounting Courses

Exactly which classes you take depends on where you go to school to earn your forensic accounting degree. The names and content will differ from institution to institution.

But the concepts, theories, practicum, and research presented in them will be very similar.

The names may change, but you can expect to take a number of classes dealing with forensic accounting, including: Accounting Fraud Examination Theory, Federal Income Tax Concepts, and Research Methods in Fraud Investigation.

Journal of Forensic Accounting

Professionals in this field need to stay at the forefront of their profession's progress and The Journal of Forensic Accounting is the premier periodical.

The Journal of Forensic Accounting was created by D. Larry Crumbley in 2000. Crumbley is a professor at Louisiana State University who thought it would be a good idea to create a journal centered on the modern theories and model applications of today's forensic accountants.

Popular Forensic Accounting Cases

You may not think you know anything about forensic accounting, but chances are, you've heard of it before.

There have been several cases and disputes throughout modern history that have become so famous as to be items of popular culture. Believe it or not, many of these cases and disputes relied on forensic accountants to get the job done.

Some of the celebrities who have been investigated by forensic accountants include:

  • Al Capone
  • Sir Paul McCartney
  • O.J. Simpson

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