Forensic accounting is a specialized branch of accounting. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, "Forensic accountants combine their accounting knowledge with investigative skills in various litigation support and investigative accounting settings1."
Forensic Accounting Curriculum
Some forensic accounting masters programs might be offered as a concentration within a larger master of accountancy (MAcc) Program. In these programs students are likely to be required to complete both general coursework focused on helping students develop skills in the broader field of accounting in combination with coursework concentrated on helping students develop skills in the area of investigative financial analysis. Some forensic accounting masters programs may offer students the option to complete a thesis or capstone project, other programs might offer experiential or research opportunities as part of their curriculum. Depending on the program some schools might focus on preparing students for CPA (Certified Public Accountant) certification and/or forensic accounting certification through agencies such as the American Board of Forensic Accounting, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners2.
Forensic Accounting Masters Degree Program Coursework
Some coursework a student concentrating on earning a masters degree in forensic accounting might encounter includes:
- Fraud and Forensic Accounting
- Fraud Detection and Deterrence
- Business Valuation
- Business Intelligence Technology
- Evidence Management and Presentation
Potential Job opportunities In Forensic Accounting
The field of forensic accounting is a specialty area of accounting that has to do with lawsuits or legal disputes. A forensic accountant might investigate white-collar crimes such as fraud or analyze financial information in a personal injury case. Sometimes forensic accountants, also called forensic auditors or investigative auditors, need to be expert witnesses at trials.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics accountants are employed in industries including3:
- Finance and Insurance
- Tax Preparation
- Payroll Services
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for accountants and auditors will increase by 13% between 2012 and 2022 (this rate is about as fast as the average of all other occupations)4. The 2012 median annual salary for accountants was $63,5503.
1. http://www.acfe.com/career-path-forensic-accountant.aspx | 2. http://certfa.org/, http://www.aicpa.org/InterestAreas/ForensicAndValuation/Membership/Pages/Overview%20Certified%20in%20Financial%20Forensics%20Credential.aspx, http://www.acfe.com/forensic-accountant.aspx | 3. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-5 | 4. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-6