What is forensic accounting? “Forensic accounting” consists of “forensic”, which has the connotation of criminal or investigative techniques, and “accounting”, which is keeping track of all financial aspects of a business. Thus, a forensic accounting expert uses forensic accounting investigation to find and testify about criminal activities such as fraud, money laundering and terrorist activities related to economic and financial activities. Forensic accounting consultants might also offer resolution or mediation services to courts and attorneys.
A forensic accounting masters degree can lead to a career that is interesting, exciting and fulfilling. These programs are often available online and aimed at the working professional. Some campus or land-based programs might be offered during evening or weekend time periods. This page has information about the programs, where they can be taken, the prospects, and more. You may also like to check out the accounting masters page.
What do forensic accounting masters programs cover?
Attention to details, an understanding of the legislative system and the ability to follow investigative trails where there are numbers involved are the skills required for those interested in this type of accounting.
Some universities require an undergraduate degree in Accounting or Business Administration, others do not. In either case, the forensic accounting masters program will require coursework in criminology and forensic theory. Finding criminal activity is only one part of the job. The forensic accountant also needs to be able to present the information in an effective manner during trial proceedings. Courses should include learning about the judicial system, evidence gathering and management and techniques for interviewing.
What additional training or accreditation is required?
Graduates of forensic accounting are expected to remain current on legislation and judicial system decisions that affect their field of expertise. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) offers certification for those who pass a written examination. In order to sit for the exam, an applicant must have accrued 50 points in a system that ranks experience, classwork and degrees granted. Two years of experience in related fields such as fraud examination or prevention and a master’s degree qualify the individual to sit for the examination.
What are the career prospects?
The career field is one that masters graduates can find exciting, fulfilling and interesting. Forensic accountants examine financial records to determine if there are irregularities or discrepancies that could indicate evidence of deliberate falsification. Payroll accounts and income statements are reviewed to look for evidence that the firm or individuals might be attempting to embezzle funds. The use of technology to follow the accounting trails is part of the forensic process. The importance of this career field is growing in part because of the increasing number of federal regulations directed at the prevention of fraud.
Because graduates will have studied accounting or auditing, there are many types of job openings available. Graduate may also include coursework in economics or business administration, leading to even more opportunities to find work upon graduation. Jobs are available within large corporations, or a forensic accountant might choose to go into private practice. There are many government positions that come open within the justice system, treasury and other branches of bureaucracy.
Forensic accounting employment is on the increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a growth in the number of forensic accounting jobs of around 22 percent from 2008 to 2018. This is higher than for most careers and is especially important because of the downturn in many other fields. It is believed that the projected growth is largely due to the increase in the number and complexity of regulations affecting and preventing accounting fraud.
Fraud examiners earned a median annual salary of $57,150 in 2008, while accountants and auditors earned a median salary of $59,430. Competition for the jobs will remain strong, in spite of the growth of positions in the field. This is largely due to the higher educational and certification requirements.
List of schools and programs
- Get your master's degree fully online: Advance your career through leading-edge skills and knowledge
- Bring real-world solutions from the classroom into your current job
- Complete coursework around your schedule – when and where it is most convenient for you
- Scholarships and other funding options may be available.
- MBA - Master of Business Administration - Accounting
- MBA - Master of Business Administration - Finance
- 100% online format, with no fixed class times, means you can earn your degree at your pace, on your schedule, while still working full-time.
- Monthly term starts and accelerated 8-week courses so that your ideal course schedule can fit around your other commitments.
- Whether you work for a start-up company or large business our M.S. in Management will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to contribute to the strategic vision of your company.
- The program draws from the areas of strategic planning, accounting, finance, and ethics to provide you with a comprehensive view of what it takes to create effective strategies within your business.
- Through various case studies and discussions with your classmates and faculty, you will be able to apply the theories and best practices you are learning to real-world business situations.
- 84% of our faculty members hold terminal degrees. In addition to their academic training, instructors have years of experience working in their field.
- Master - Professional Accounting
- Master - Finance