Careers in Forensic Accounting: Discovering Roles and Emerging Opportunities

The accounting world is changing, and students of the discipline are entering a world of industry and career growth. Accounting, and especially forensic accounting, is no longer a second-tier priority for most companies. As business moves into the virtual and global space, navigating the complexities of international financial compliance while remaining profitable are falling more under the umbrella of specialists with a focus on cash flow, currency and regulation.

A forensic accountant at work

Forensic accounting is just one path available to today’s graduating students. Below, explore the types of forensic roles that an online Master of Science in Accounting from New England College can lead to:

Forensic Auditor

The forensic accountant combines the accounting world with the legal world. These accountants go over company numbers for the purpose of presenting that information in court. The forensic accountant is an expert in the forensic audit, unearthing all potential instances of embezzlement or fraud that are hidden in the numbers.

As you might imagine, the forensic auditor job has the potential to be a very important position. Very large companies may hire accountants who have forensic experience as protection, because these accountants know where businesses can get into trouble. Forensic accountants will often play a major role in the financial rendering of big company decisions, especially those decisions that will likely incur scrutiny from regulatory agencies.

Complex financial issues in situations like divorce also call for the help of a forensic accountant. Analyzing assets, finding anything that is missing, and even handling post-divorce tax concerns are all tasks that fall under the purview of the forensic accountant in a divorce proceeding.

The forensic auditor can expect to make $65,940 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, this salary can quickly increase based upon the experience that a forensic auditor has, with special consideration given to those accountants who can communicate well with other departments. Accountants who have cultivated relationships with regulators are especially in demand.

Fraud Examiner

A Certified Fraud Examiner certification allows accountants to conduct fraud examinations. The CFE is considered an expert in many court proceedings, and companies are paying a premium for the protection that this skill set provides. A CFE sits at the head table because of their ability to resolve fraud allegations. The CFE knows how to take statements, obtain evidence and testify convincingly in high-pressure court situations.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics places the average annual salary at $62,340, with the top 10 percent of people in the field earning an average of $90,570 per year. The Fraud Examiner may also be hired on in the role of insurance claim adjuster. Accounting is one of the basic disciplines that serve as a legitimate background for this career.

Corporate Security and Risk Management

Accountants are not traditionally considered good candidates for risk managers; however, this notion is changing with the current generation of accountants, armed with a new skill set that centers on communications and application. Unlike the reactionary purpose of a fraud examiner, a corporate security and risk management professional has the job of staving off investigations. The job is all about planning and implementing a risk management process for the future instead of preparing for a court case that may be more imminent.

Corporate security and risk management accountants are essential components of reporting to shareholders. The real-time compilation of bottom-line numbers that modern shareholders now require is the sole responsibility of the accountant; however, the methodology used to create reports and analyze numbers is so complex that it is becoming easier to let the accountant make her own presentations, bypassing executive overreach in many cases.

Corporate security accountants are in the upper echelon of financial professionals, with an ability to make more than six figures ― sometimes right after graduation.

Growing Opportunities

With more opportunity comes more job security. An accountant with the right certification has more leverage than ever in the job market. Competitors in certain industries, especially finance, global IT and manufacturing, are investing in the forensic accountants who will help them avoid the trouble caused by new global regulations. The political upheaval that the world is facing from nationalist policies will only drive corporate need for highly skilled forensic accounting professionals.

In addition to providing a fundamental knowledge of the discipline, the Master of Science in Accounting online curriculum at New England College can help prepare you for important accounting exams, including the CPA, CMA, CIA and CFE certifications. With the proper credentials and the cultivation of communications skills alongside financial skills, you can work toward a dynamic career in forensic accounting.

Sources

http://www.allbusinessschools.com/accounting/common-questions/career-in-forensic-accounting/

http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=Certified_Fraud_Examiner_(CFE)/Salary

http://info.legalzoom.com/forensic-accountant-divorce-27254.html