When you hear the word “forensics,” you think of homicide, drug-dealing, and robbery cases. But the increasing awareness and strict laws about financially motivated crimes have unfolded another vast field in forensics. When it comes to fraud, there are mainly three types of fraud.
- Asset misappropriation
- Financial statement fraud
Surprisingly, these categories of fraud aren’t just confined to the financial sector. They happen in multiple private, public, and government organizations in all sectors. It is the job of a forensic accountant to identify these financial frauds suggest necessary steps of action from that point onward. Tracing income sources, identifying discrepancies in financial records, analyzing complex data, reporting, and taking action are all part of this job. In other terms, a forensics accountant is a financial detective.
Now that technology has made it easier to commit financial crimes, investigating such crimes has also become challenging. That has made the services of a forensics accountant even more critical. So if you are good with numbers, hold an interest in accounting, and want to help put ‘bad guys’ behind bars for all their dirty money deeds, this career is perfect for you. You will, of course, have to do the following things to become a forensic accountant:
Set Your Career Path
Like every other field, your education and training in forensic accounting can open many career paths for you. Knowing which one of these career paths you want to pursue will help you specialize in that field. You can also choose after determining the pay scale, which is what people usually do.
A forensic accountant works to expose financial frauds and aid in investigations by analyzing highly classified financial information. Not only does this add to the responsibility of the job, but it also significantly increases the risk of exposure. Hence, companies often pay quite handsomely to hire the services of a qualified professional. Typically, forensic accounting salary packages vary from $68,000 to $82,000. Fraud Examiners can earn up to $105,000. However, large corporations are also willing to pay salaries of over $150,000 to anyone who can get the job done right.
Acquire Relative Education
You need to have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance or a Master’s in accounting to have a successful career in this field. Most employers prefer a person with a Master’s in accounting degree. If you want, you can also pursue a specialized Bachelor’s degree in forensics accounting too. The degree makes the basis of your accounting education and prepares you to think and work like an investigator. Accounting and finance-related degrees that offer courses like fraud examination, legal issues of fraud, and fraud prevention can prepare you for this career.
Earn Your (CPA) And (CFE)
If you want to pursue a career in forensics accounting or fraud prevention, you will need two licenses and certificates. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a license given by the state to become a practicing accountant. Every good accountant has this certification and license. To acquire this certification, you will need to have a specific educational background along with experience. If you meet the requirements, you can take the CPA exam.
A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), on the other hand, can be pursued along with CPA or separately. This certification validates your expertise in fraud examination, detection, and prevention. A CFE has to go through lengthy training to understand complex accounting cases, and how to detect and prevent fraud.
Getting these certifications can provide you the ultimate boost you need for a successful career in this field. A non-certified fraud examiner makes about $77,000 on average per year. But if you have a (CFE), you can easily net a six-figure salary.
Find A Job At A Suitable Place
Once you have the education, certification, and license, it is time to start your professional journey as a forensic accountant. You will have numerous career options in the public sector, private sector, and even nonprofit organizations. Many government organizations like the FBI, CIA, and IRS hire forensic accountants. They are also employed by law firms, banks, and insurance companies for dealing with financial litigations. Many multinational and transnational corporations even hire forensics accountant for global risk management and financial safety.
A forensic accountant is a rockstar field out of all forensic-related fields. If you to achieve BIG and want to experience the thrill of working with LARGE numbers, this is the right career for you. The job comes with the added social responsibility of creating a fair and crime-free business and economic environment for all stakeholders. If you carefully plan and follow the steps mentioned above, you’ll reach your goal smoothly in a few years.