Forensic Accountant

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.

The ACFE’s 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.

Job Responsibilities

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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Education

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:

Knowledge 

White-collar crime

Money laundering

Insurance claims

GAAP or GAAS violations

Telemarketing fraud

Check kiting

Contract and procurement fraud

Asset misappropriation

Securities fraud

Financial statement fraud

Bankruptcy fraud

Credit card fraud

Embezzlement

Financial data analysis

Evidence integrity analysis

Computer application design

Damage assessment

Tracing illicit funds

Locating hidden assets

Due diligence reviews

 

Forensic intelligence gathering

Accounting procedures

Legal system and its procedures

Regression analysis

Computer applications

 

Skills 

Writing reports

Testifying as an expert witness

 

Abilities 

Interpersonal communication

Verbal communication

Written communication

Attention to detail

Analytical

Integrity

Objectivity

Independence

Credibility

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Compensation

Below are compensation ranges for Forensic Accountants taken from the 2017/2018 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals:

 

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