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. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide statistics for forensic accountants, the BLS reports that the the median annual salary for government accountants and auditors which includes forensic accountants was $61,490 in 2012.1 The BLS projects that employment will grow 13% for all accountants and auditors from 2012 to 2022.1

Schools Offering Accounting and Criminal Justice Degrees

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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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Post University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Certificate: Forensic Accoutning
  • A.S. in Accounting
  • B.S. in Accounting

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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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Virginia College
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • AS - Accounting Specialist
  • BS - Private Sector Accounting

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Florida Tech University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Accounting
  • Associate of Arts in Accounting
  • MBA Accounting

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Capella University
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

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

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American InterContinental University Online
Campuses: 1Online
Popular Degrees:

  • Master of Accounting
  • Bachelor of Accounting
  • MBA - Accounting


Related Careers

Interested in a career similar to forensic accounting? Check out these related careers:

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm

Page Edited by Charles Sipe.