Forensic Accountants combine their accounting knowledge with investigative skills in various litigation support and investigative accounting settings. Forensic Accountants are employed by public accounting firms’ forensic accounting divisions; by consulting firms specializing in risk consulting and forensic accounting services; or by lawyers, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, government organizations or financial institutions. Due to heightened awareness and growing intolerance of fraudulent activity, demand for Forensic Accountants is rapidly increasing.
Benefits of the CFE Credential
The CFE credential provides Forensic Accountants with the technical knowledge necessary to perform effective investigations. In contrast to auditors, who typically take a more consistent and standardized approach to their work, Forensic Accountants must determine which areas, people or functions of the organization require their attention. Because fraud is usually hidden, this process can be difficult and time consuming. The CFE credential ensures Forensic Accountants have advanced knowledge of typical fraud schemes and data analysis techniques so that they can perform investigations efficiently and strategically.
global salary study found that CFEs earn a 31 percent income premium over their peers without the credential, which demonstrates the value employers place on the credential. The study also provides valuable information and comparisons helpful to all anti-fraud professionals in benchmarking their compensation levels and career growth. The training, fraud resources and continuing education provided by the ACFE will help in any stage of your career path. Refer to the
Compensation section below for more information about the compensation ranges for Forensic Accountants.
Most forensic accounting positions require at least one to three years of accounting experience. Many Forensic Accountants obtain this experience by working as a general accountant. Some responsibilities unique to forensic accountants include:
Performs forensic research to trace funds and identify assets for recovery
Conducts forensic analysis of financial data
Prepares forensic accounting reports from financial findings
Prepares analytical data for litigation and testifies as needed
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A bachelor’s or master’s degree in forensic accounting, accounting, finance or a related field is required for forensic accountants. Additional education in criminal justice or law enforcement is a plus. Many companies encourage obtaining the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and/or Chartered Accountant (CA).
Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
It is important to plan and conduct an honest self-assessment of your knowledge, skills and abilities. In particular, employers are looking for:
GAAP or GAAS violations
Contract and procurement fraud
Financial statement fraud
Credit card fraud
Financial data analysis
Evidence integrity analysis
Computer application design
Tracing illicit funds
Locating hidden assets
Due diligence reviews
Forensic intelligence gathering
Legal system and its procedures
Testifying as an expert witness
Attention to detail
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