Careers in Forensic Accounting

One of the fastest growing fields in law enforcement today, forensic accountants are responsible for examining tax and business records to find irregularities that can impact major criminal and civil cases. They are considered a hybrid form of certified public accountants who use forensic accounting in order to detect and/or find evidence of embezzlement, corruption and other financial misdeeds. These highly trained fiscal detectives generally hold advanced degrees and have advanced knowledge related to their duties.

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Forensic Accountant Requirements and Common Tasks

Forensic accountants may work in state or federal law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation or United States Secret Service, or on behalf of large financial institutions. They generally need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business, a certificate in public accounting, as well as advanced coursework in criminal investigation, especially as it relates to financial recordkeeping. There are also forensic accounting degrees that focus on preparation for this career. A normal day for a forensic accountant includes reviewing statements from Fortune 500 firms, identifying discrepancies in funds between public companies and their employees, and perhaps preparing expert witness testimony for a criminal or civil case using the results of their forensic auditing.

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Forensic Accountant Salary, Job Outlook and Employers

Forensic accounting jobs are seeing strong growth, in large part due to more stringent federal and state regulations concerning financial disclosures and dealing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2008 and 2018 the job growth is expected to be about 20 percent, faster than most other professions. Forensic accounting salary ranges are difficult to pinpoint due to options in both the public and private sector, but for an FBI forensic accountant and those working in other federal agencies, minimum salaries are in the mid-five figures and growth in salary and responsibilities can increase salaries to the low six figures. Those numbers are higher for those who move to the private sector or contract with law firms as expert witnesses.

Forensic Accounting Degrees & Programs

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Colorado Technical University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Science in Financial Forensics
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Associate's Degree in Accounting (ASACC)

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University of Phoenix
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • B.S. in Accounting
  • M.S. in Accountancy
  • A.A. in Accounting Fundamentals

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Independence University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Accounting - Forensic Accounting (BS)
  • Business Management & Accounting - Property Management (AAS)
  • Accounting (BS)

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Ashworth College
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Basic Accounting

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Walden University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • M.S. in Accounting
  • M.S. in Accounting - Accounting for the Professional
  • Ph.D. in Management - Accounting

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Capella University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • BS - Accounting
  • PhD - Accounting
  • DBA - Accounting

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Liberty University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • CERT: Accounting
  • AA in Accounting
  • MS in Accounting


Page Edited by Charles Sipe.