When people hear the word forensics, images of NCIS and CSI usually come to mind. The term forensics is associated with anything related to crime or criminal activity, and a forensic accountant is a specialized position for someone who deals with investigating crimes dealing with money and finances. It can be an intense job that requires a lot of heavy research. If you're interested in the field, here are some things you should know.
What You Do
In order to become a forensic or investigative account, such as with Epps Forensic Consulting PLLC, you'll need at least anywhere from one to three years of experience as an accountant already under your belt. General accountant positions and CPA's usually have adequate background to pursue their career in forensic accounting. Here are some examples of tasks you'd complete:
- Have the ability to analyze and understand forensic data obtained.
- Be able to recognize assets that could be used for possible monetary recovery.
- Ability to uncover any fraudulent activity based on data found.
- Prepare and submit financial findings and reports, and potentially testify those findings in a court of law.
Background and Skills
As a forensic accountant, you should have at least a bachelor's degree in either forensic or regular accounting. People who also have experience with law and criminal justice are usually prime candidates. A certification known as the CFE or Certified Fraud Examiner is also usually required, as well as a CPA or Certified Public Accountant license. Before you delve into the world of forensic accounting, you should have plenty of knowledge about current financial law.
People who choose this type of career have a wide array of background experience including understanding illegal insurance claims processing, fraud laws, embezzlement, money laundering, credit card fraud, and other financial related crimes. You will also need to be able to take the knowledge and facts gathered and be able to compile them into a precise and succinct report. In many instances, you'll be called as an expert witness to testify about your findings, so understanding the courts system is important as well.
Those in the field of forensic accounting must be honest, dedicated to their jobs, have a high level of integrity, and be able to work with criminal investigators and law enforcement officials. Most people who work in this field do so independently or with a small team of others. The purpose of this career is to protect individuals and businesses from those who attempt to commit fraud against them, helping them recover lost funds as a result of crime.