Business today is not the same as before. New ideas come and go, and business concepts continue to evolve towards better economic goals.
As a result of business developments, a number of specialized fields in accounting have developed. One of the most recent trends is forensic accounting.
This article provides information about these differentiated fields. In this article you will study definitions of forensic accounting, salaries and job opportunities, degrees, and related certifications.
What is Forensic Accounting?
You’ve encountered the two terms before, at least separately; and you never imagined that they could be put side by side.
It’s a little weird when you think of the private investigators at the crime scene all holding calculators instead of magnifying glasses and cameras. And it’s even weird to see bookkeepers trying to prepare quarterly financial statements with elastic knives and gloves! Well, that term isn’t really that much of a bother.
The term “forensic” means “in connection with a court or public dispute” or “fit for use in court”. Forensic accounting involves the use of accounting expertise in court and litigation cases, fraud investigations, claims and dispute resolution, and other areas involving legal matters.
In contrast to the popular dramatic forensic setting that focuses on DNA extraction and bullet trajectory calculations, forensic accounting deals with both financial crimes and corporate frauds .
What Forensic Accountants Do
Due to recent cases of fraud and financial crime, the need for fraud prevention and detection is increasing. This is the reason why forensic accounting continues to enjoy rapidly increasing popularity in the world of business and finance.
Forensic accountants perform two main types of services: investigative and litigation support .
Investigation involves examining potential and actual evidence that could indicate fraudulent activity and related information related to it.
In litigation support, forensic accountants provide assistance in certain cases, especially those related to the calculation or estimation of economic damage and related problems. Forensic accountants also provide evidence and act as expert witnesses in the courtroom where they provide valuable points that are useful in deciding fraud and related cases.
Because of the perceived expertise and value that society places on forensic accountants, businesses seek consulting and consulting services.
Forensic accountants are experts in the ins and outs of fraudulent schemes. They can be hired to do investigative work and provide recommendations to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent activity occurring. Forensic accountants also work with negligence incidents, bankruptcies, contracts, and other cases involving damage restoration.
How to Become a Forensic Accountant
Due to the growing popularity of this field, many schools now offer degrees and training programs related to forensic accounting.
The first thing you should consider if you want to become a forensic accountant is obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Forensic accounting courses are usually offered at the master’s degree level.
An accounting certification in forensic accounting will help you build value and recognition in society. Having a certification proves that you are qualified to perform services in that area. Several accounting certifications are available for forensic accountants.
Forensic Accounting Jobs and Salaries
Forensic accounting is hailed as one of the fastest growing careers today; perhaps the fastest in the accounting profession.
Forensic accountants are employed by both private and public employers who wish to take advantage of their valuable services. Government agencies hired the FA to help them resolve financial lapses in their systems. Research and academic fields also demand their knowledge in this particular field.
Having a background in forensic accounting exposes accountants to a broader lens on the accounting horizon. This provides a useful value-added qualification especially for those in management and advisory department level positions.
The average US forensic accountant salary is around $ 75,000 with many earning over $ 100,000 per year. Six-figure annual salaries are not uncommon in this type of specialization. The starting salary of forensic accountants ranges from $ 30,000 to $ 60,000 per year.
Forensic Accounting Certification
Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF). This certification is awarded by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to Certified Public Accountants (CPA) who have developed expertise in forensic accounting. This is an additional accreditation you may want to consider in addition to having a CPA license.
Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr.FA). The American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI) awards Cr.FA credentials as well to CPAs who meet their certification requirements.
Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). CFE is a globally recognized professional designation for individuals who specialize in fraud prevention, detection and prevention. It is offered by the Association of Fraud Examiners (ACFE). CFE demonstrates proficiency and professional excellence in performing services to expose fraud and implement internal controls and systems to prevent it from occurring.
Forensic accountants are respected for their abilities to utilize their accounting expertise and detective skills. They can have very rewarding and exciting careers with good jobs and income opportunities.
If you are looking for an interesting way to practice accounting, then you may want to consider getting into forensic accounting.