Accountants sort out complex numbers and accruals, applying the economic concepts at the core of any public or private entity. Skilled accountants are detail-oriented professionals who possess the leadership and management skills required to sort out the bottom line. Without accountants plying their trade every day, business would grind to a halt.
Accounting is among the most in-demand career choices for people just starting out their careers. Even better, the field of accounting is broad and varied, offering opportunities to work in almost any type of organization.
But what happens when something is amiss?
Despite its reputation as a staid, even tedious profession, there is evidence to the contrary. Speaking of evidence, one specialization for accountants seeking to advance their careers lay at the center of some of the most thrilling detective stories of our time.
Forensic accounting is a relatively new domain within the profession. As the name implies, forensic accounting investigates potential or actual fraud, gathering evidence that meets standards for litigation in court proceedings.
Many consider its beginning when Al Capone, one of America’s most notorious criminal mob bosses, was brought to justice by U.S. Treasury Department Special Intelligence Unit Agent Frank J. Wilson. Of all the bad deeds committed by Capone, it was tax evasion that finally took him down. Wilson is the man credited with doing it through his expertise in both accounting and investigation.
Since that time forensic accounting has become a critical component for uncovering fraud in our modern, globalized economy. Combining accounting and investigative skills, forensic accountants are employed by law firms, insurance agencies, risk assessment consulting firms, and government agencies.
It is an exciting career, but one requiring the proper temperament and training.
The Skills of a Forensic Accountant
A forensic accountant brings to bear a specific set of skills. Aside from an expanded understanding of acceptable accounting practices, these include:
- Strong analytical and investigative skills
- Advanced deductive skills and critical judgment
- An ability to find dubious practices within complex financial transactions
- Understanding how to prepare evidence for use within the judicial system, including providing expert testimony for court proceedings
These are skills acquired through advanced training, typically with a forensic accounting degree.
How to Get a Forensic Accounting Degree
For working professionals, the thought of pursuing advanced education is daunting. Affording the time and expense of a Master of Science Degree with a specialty in Forensic Accounting may seem out of reach. However, for dedicated professionals intent on advancing their careers into this exciting field, the option of an online degree program can be a perfect fit.
Like any good accountant, you can balance the cost of time and money with the reward of advanced skills and career growth. An online forensic accounting degree provides a flexible and affordable learning environment.
The fact is, if you’re inclined to the rigors of forensic accounting, the world needs you.