Forensic Accounting Qualifications
As white-collar crimes increase, so too does the need for forensic accountants. Also known as investigative auditors, these professionals assist clients, attorneys, and law enforcement authorities in finding and examining financial evidence to help determine what a case is about. Because of the extent of the job, being good at crunching numbers is only one of the many forensic accounting qualifications that a person needs to have in order to enter this profession. This article takes a look at what the other forensic accounting qualifications are for the benefit of those who are interested in becoming investigative auditors.
Forensic accounting qualifications: Education and certifications
The minimum forensic accounting qualifications in terms of education are a Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a degree from a related field and having the title of certified public accountant. Some firms, however, may prefer to hire those who have received a Master’s degree in accounting (some may settle for a Master’s degree in business administration with an accounting certification) and have achieved other professional certifications, such as Certified Fraud Examiner.
Some schools already offer courses that, while not strictly part of the forensic accounting qualifications, are geared toward providing students with the training they will need to excel in the field (such as internal auditing). Professional associations of forensic accountants usually offer continuing education courses, seminars, and such that can be taken to help in career advancement. Forensic accountants can also take advanced studies in order to specialize in a certain field in forensic accounting. While also not strictly part of the forensic accounting qualifications, taking these courses will allow you to specialize in a field so you get to earn a higher salary. Specializations include securities fraud, insurance claims, and personal injury claims.
Forensic accounting qualifications: Skills
Aside from accounting and auditing skills, you will also need to have good research and computer skills in order to become an effective forensic accountant. You will be part of investigations, which is why you also need to have analytical and investigative skills so you will be able to examine cases from different angles.
Familiarity with legal concepts and procedures are also part of forensic accounting qualifications, since you may also be called to present the evidence you have gathered and/or examined in court litigation. Forensic accountants may also need to serve as mediators in order to resolve disputes or negotiate settlements, so they will also need to have good skills in mediation.
Forensic accounting qualifications: Personal characteristics
Aside from these qualifications, a forensic accountant should also have the following characteristics: objectivity, persistence, curiosity, ability to make good decisions and use sound judgment, well-organized, and detail-oriented. He or she should also have the ability to be discreet, especially since cases that he or she will be handling are highly sensitive.
Forensic accounting qualifications may not seem strict at first glance, but companies are highly stringent when it comes to hiring those who will serve as their investigative auditors. If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, make sure to stay focused on your goal. This profession is rewarding in not just the financial aspect, but it’s also a difficult field to get into, so make sure to work hard to get your dream job.