People who find financial data analysis interesting and have investigative skills may decide to pursue a forensic accounting degree. Forensic accountants usually assist legal professionals when legal claims or possible fraudulent activities are suspected by companies or individuals. These accountants use their knowledge of generally accepted accounting practices , business information systems, and auditing techniques to detect anomalies in accounting systems or in the way that accounts are presented. The resulting data analysis reports generated by forensic accountants help courts decide whether fraudulent activities or improper conduct exists.

Resource List

Forensic Accounting

| Forensic Accountant (Wikipedia)
FBI Forensic Accountants Follow the Money
Listing of Forensic Accounting Salaries (Glassdoor.com)

People who want to become forensic accountants must prepare to obtain a bachelors degree in accounting or other related business specialty. This degree provides students with basic knowledge of accounting principles as well as an introduction to popular business information systems used in this career field. Forensic accounting candidates must also prepare and sit for the certified public accounting (CPA) exam. This exam certifies that accountants have specialized knowledge of accounting principles and regulatory practices within the accounting field. The certified fraud examiner (CFE) credential, which assures forensic accounting candidates are familiar with auditing techniques needed to identify potential fraud, must also be obtained prior to gaining entrance into the forensic accounting career field.

How To Find The Top Forensic Accounting Degree Programs

The best forensic accounting degrees can help students achieve their goals of becoming forensic accountants, but students must evaluate these degree programs to make sure that the chosen program meets their specific professional goals. Some highly respected, accredited forensic accounting schools include the Florida Atlantic School of Accounting, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Business, and American Intercontinental University. Each of these schools are known for rigorous course work that help prepare students to take and pass necessary certification examinations for forensic accounting. Some degree programs offer flexible online and in-classroom study options specially designed to accommodate working students.

The Florida Atlantic School of Accounting has achieved a high ranking as a leading forensic accounting degree program mainly because of the high pass rates of its students taking the CPA exam. In addition to bachelors degrees in accounting, the school offers certificates in healthcare fraud examination and graduate degrees in forensic accounting. The school recognizes the need for hands on experience and provides competitive internship opportunities to its students.

University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Business offers its students of accounting coursework that directly relates to the forensic accounting degree specialty. Specifically, its Fraud Examination course covers much of the material that students will encounter during the CFE certification exam. Internships are built into the curriculum, and students must gain work experience with a public or private sector organization to fulfill certain degree requirements.

American Intercontinental University online bachelors degree in accounting may be one of the best online forensic accounting degree programs around. Although they do have class rooms strategically located around the country, the school is best known as a premiere online university. The accounting degree offered by American Intercontinental University includes coursework in auditing, accounting information systems, and risk management. The material found in these courses help students to prepare for accounting certification exams.

Careers and Salaries For Someone With A Forensic Accounting Degree

Forensic accounting careers vary by industry. Corporations and even some law firms hire forensic accountants for their specialized skills and credentials. While forensic accounting salaries depend largely on job location and the industry in which the individual is employed, the average salary of forensic accountants is $73,000 a year. The job position and responsibility are also key factors used to determine salary. For example, internal audit managers holding a forensic accounting degree may receive higher compensation than forensic accountants in the position of litigation support.

Additional Resource: Top 10 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs