What Is Forensic Accounting?

What is forensic accounting?

Forensic accountants use numbers & math to aid criminal investigations. Learn if becoming a forensic accountant is right for you.

It's a question you should certainly ask if you plan on pursuing a career in this field.

Forensic accountants are employed to aid in criminal investigations, legal disputes, or business dealings, to locate and analyze financial evidence associated with the crime or events.

In other words, they use numbers and math to aid the world of law and order.

People have become very interested in crime scene investigation and forensic science careers over the past several years because of popular television series and movies.

But while those shows can be very entertaining, they also almost always get it wrong. Those stories feature people who do the jobs of hundreds all by themselves--and that just isn't realistic.

One of the many criminal justice careers that get often overlooked by those kinds of shows is the forensic accountant.

It's time to set the record straight and see just what it is that the forensic accountant doesÂ…and if it's a career you think you might want to pursue.

What is Forensic Accounting?
Job Description & Responsibilities

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As with many of the other careers in the world of criminal justice, the forensic accountant has many jobs and duties.

forensic accountant

Some of the more important tasks that the forensic accountant may be responsible for include:

  • Analyze finances for a divorce settlement
  • Appear as an expert witness in court
  • Locate accounting evidence in a criminal investigation
  • Quantify the economic loss regarding a personal injury lawsuit
  • Investigate business or employee fraud claims

What is Forensic Accounting?
The Training

It takes a great deal of education to become a professional forensic accountant. The first thing you'll need is a bachelor's degree in accounting from whichever college or university you like the best.

If, however, you're open to suggestion when it comes to choosing the institution, consider a web-based school. This will save you money and not force you to relocate.

You can do all your work from the comfort and privacy of your own home, and you can do it at your own pace.

Some of the best colleges to earn a forensic accounting degree from include:

  • Kaplan University
  • Rasmussen College
  • Walden University
history of forensic accounting

For a solid leg-up on the competition, you should consider getting a master's degree in forensic accounting after your Bachelor's.

Also, we highly recommend participating in introductory criminal justice courses.

This will give you a glimpse at the world of law and order that you'll be working in as a forensic accountant.

Beyond your degrees, you'll want to obtain a number of different certificates and accreditations, including:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr.FA)
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
  • Certified Fraud Specialist (CFS)

What is Forensic Accounting?
The Work

It takes a certain type of person to succeed in forensic accounting--this isn't a job for everyone.

Just as with any job, there are specific personality traits that go hand in hand with being a certified forensic accountant.

Before you spend money on the education and training, you may to make sure you have what it takes to be a successful and, more importantly, happy forensic accountant.

A forensic accountant should have a good deal of:

  • Curiosity
  • Persistence
  • Determination
  • Discretion
  • Organization
  • Creativity

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