The Growing Importance of Forensic Accounting

The Growing Importance of Forensic Accounting

In recent years, the importance of forensic accounting has been growing rapidly. This is a professional field with a landscape that is being shaped by the rise of financial technology (FinTech). Forensic accounting specialists work for law enforcement agencies, as well as, in the compliance departments of business entities, at law firms, banks, and government agencies. The majority of forensic accountants are hired for compliance purposes; they make sure a company’s finances are being kept safe and accurate.

While many companies have always had in-house accountants to monitor and minimize any irregularities or complications that may arise during regular business transactions, sophisticated instances of fraudulent activity are becoming increasingly common.

Modern businesses may encounter cleverly masked fraudulent activity when they go through their books, but only when forensic accountants uncover such evidence. Forensic accountants are often called upon by insurance companies to investigate specific suspicions of fraudulent activity, or they can sometimes be brought on as a preventative measure.

Florida National University, an accredited private college serving the South Florida community, gives individuals interested in the forensic accounting field the foundation necessary to get started. Florida National University offers both associate and bachelor degree programs to help students get started in accounting, the first step to take before getting into forensic accounting.

Students gain valuable information through FNU accounting degree programs that can be fully completed online and with the benefit of financial assistance for those who qualify. Get in touch with FNU admissions counselors to learn more about the career opportunities waiting for you in the world of accounting.

What is Forensic Accounting?

Forensic accounting is the use of accounting skills to investigate fraud, embezzlement and other irregularities hidden as financial transactions. In many cases, forensic accounting investigations are used in legal proceedings, but they are also used for compliance efforts and crime prevention.

A forensic accountant investigates a wide range of fraudulent activities that can take place within corporate, healthcare, real estate, mass marketing, hedge funds, and securities trading fields.

These professionals may also investigate other crimes such as contract disagreements, money laundering, bribery, and embezzlement. While the duties of forensic accountants mainly lead them to investigate and analyze cases, they may also be called upon to serve as expert witnesses in court.

There are instances in which the skills forensic accountants employ are used in more personal matters. In a dissolution of a marriage, for example, a forensic accountant will review the financial situations of both parties as well as their spending to advance the settlement process and to provide attorneys with accurate information to use in court. Forensic accountants are able to trace assets through investment accounts, and they can also identify hidden income or assets

Importance of Forensic Accountant

As a modern discipline, forensic accounting incorporates additional skills that go beyond accounting and finances. There is a greater need for knowledge of the legal process and information technology.

Forensic accounting has seen increased demand because of the emergence of hopeful entrepreneurs and business professionals setting up their own enterprises. Each year, half a million startup companies are established, many of them with the intention of operating solely online.

With the current reliance on internet technologies, the role of forensic accountants has expanded accordingly. Online financial transactions give prospective lawbreakers a false sense of security because they believe that they can easily conceal their tracks; nonetheless, technologically-skilled individuals can use the internet to cover up illegal transactions. This situation is when the expertise of forensic accountants is invaluable.

With new technology, forensic accountants can sift through countless email messages and electronic ledgers as they look for fraudulent activity. However, it is not uncommon to sift through paper documents

How Do You Become a Forensic Accountant

You must begin with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and take specialized coursework in forensic accounting or even criminal justice. Additionally, forensic accounting positions typically require a minimum of one to three years of general accounting experience. You will need to pursue the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation path, which requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements. A master’s degree is highly recommended as the CPA exam requires at least 18 credits beyond the bachelor degree.

Often, employers prefer the CFE credentials because of the technical knowledge it provides for carrying out investigations and the advanced understanding of fraud and data analysis procedures that will aid them considerably in the search for criminal activity. In the U.S., the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners issues certificates to members in good standing who have completed a bachelor’s degree program.

Forensic Accountant Job Outlook

Since forensic accounting is a specialty within the accounting profession, those who choose this career can expect to earn more than the average annual salary. While accountants and auditors are projected to see a 6% job growth through the year 2028 2031, which aligns with the national average. With forensic accounting, the unique skillset makes the projections for financial examiners 21% through 2031, much faster than average.

FNU’s Forensic Accounting Degree Program

Florida National University takes pride in giving students the knowledge and skills necessary to take advantage of unique opportunities like those found in the forensic accounting field. Staying informed about current developments in the field is the key to building a solid career plan that will bring you closer to your dream job. Put your educational aspirations in motion by contacting one of our admissions advisers today.

Florida National University offers an Associate of Arts in accounting programs, but you will need a Bachelor of Science in accounting degree to pursue the CFE credential. For your convenience, all FNU accounting programs can be completed online so that you can balance your work and personal obligations.

Florida National University is accredited to grant college degrees by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Florida Department of Education – Commission on Independent Education (CIE). We offer two campus locations in South Florida for students who prefer traditional classroom environments, and qualified students may receive financial assistance or scholarships.