What Are the Qualifications of a Forensic Accountant?

The qualifications of a forensic accountant include proper education, creativity & attention to detail. Is becoming a forensic accountant right for you?

Like most of the careers in the world of law and order, there are many qualifications of a forensic accountant that you'll need to have and obtain before you join the profession.

forensic accountant

Forensic accounting is a serious job and you need to have a lot of education before you can become a success at it. But not just that--you'll also have to gain years of experience before you can climb the ranks and earn the bigger paychecks.

But first thing first: what exactly is a forensic accountant? After all, if you're going to endure years of training, it helps to make sure this is a career path you want to go down. And that means understanding the profession.

A forensic accountant is a member of the criminal investigation team that works to marry two seemingly separate worlds: criminal justice and accounting. This investigator locates, analyzes, and reports on evidence found in financial records pertinent to a case.

The forensic investigator has many duties, including investigating financial records in a criminal case, analyzing finances in a divorce settlement, or working with an agency or corporation to examine evidence in a fraud claim.

In order to be able to do these duties, the forensic accountant must have substantial training and certification.

Qualifications of a Forensic Accountant: Personality

Before we talk about what kinds of degrees or accreditation you'll need to work as a professional forensic accountant, it may behoove us to mention that it takes a certain kind of person with a specific type of personality to do the job well.

Take a look at the attributes and see if they match your own. If they don't, you may want to either reconsider your career path or think about what you can do to change your ways to better suit the job.

If they do match your own, then you're just one step closer to becoming a successful forensic accountant.

  • Creativity- You may be required to think outside of the box on certain cases, and a creative frame of mind will help you do so.

  • Attention to Detail- Forensic accounting requires a great deal of close reading and calculation, so you need to be able to see everything before you with an extraordinarily clear vision.

  • Perseverance- Going hand in hand with your attention to detail, you'll need to have the determination to see a case through, checking and rechecking your work several times as you go along.

  • Organization- If nothing else, the forensic accountant needs to be superbly organized, able to go back and forth quickly between documents and findings, presenting them to your employers in a reasonable and easy to read manner.

Qualifications of a Forensic Accountant: Degrees

online degrees

At the very least, you'll need to obtain a bachelor's degree in accounting to work in this profession.

But this is a competitive job market and anything you can do to look better than the competition will help you.

To that end, we recommend going beyond the bachelor's degree and earning a master's as well.

While earning your degrees, it would be a great idea to take criminal justice courses as your elective to give you a more in depth introduction into the world in which you'll be working.

Qualifications of a Forensic Accountant: Certifications

After you've earned your degrees in accounting, you'll need to become further certified to work as a professional in this department.

The first thing you need to do is become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Beyond that, you'll want to become a Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr.FA), and possibly even a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) or Certified Fraud Specialist (CFS).

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