If you want to work in investigative accounting, it is time to learn about the steps you need to take to become a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants use their accounting knowledge and combine this knowledge with the investigative skill to assist prosecution, lawyers, law enforcement and other agencies in identifying fraud and providing litigation support. With more and more people engaging in fraudulent financial activities, the need for accountants in this specialty is high. That is why now is the best time to complete a degree program and train to become a specialist in forensic accounting.
Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree in the Field
You will need your high school diploma or equivalent before you can enter into a bachelor’s degree program. Once you are eligible to enroll at a two-year or four-year school, you need to find a reputable program that will teach you all of the skills and technical knowledge that you need to become comfortable in accounting. There are several different programs that you can choose from including: forensic accounting, accounting, finance or even business. Make sure that the program that you choose is not only regionally accredited, but also accredited by an accounting accreditation agency. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business has an Accounting Accreditation to ensure all the coursework that you complete meets high standards.
Select a Minor in Criminal Justice
It is important to find out what curriculum is taught and whether or not you can select a minor in criminal justice or law enforcement. This may not be a requirement, but it will give you a leg up on the competition when you graduate. A minor will help you apply the technical skills you learn through theory as well as the investigative skills you learn in your criminal justice courses. Otherwise, you will have to learn more about criminal justice as you try to complete advanced coursework when you earn your master’s.
Learn About the Requirements to Earn Your Certified Fraud Examiner Credential
If you want to become a highly desirable candidate for open forensic accounting positions in the public or private sector, you should consider earning your certification. A Certified Fraud Examiner has proven their professional excellence by sitting for the certification exam and staying in good standing as an associate member. To get certified, you must meet the prerequisites and demonstrate a high moral character.
To be qualified, you must have at least 50 points awarded for education credits and experience. You will receive five points for every year of experience, 40 points for your bachelor’s degree, and an additional five points for your master’s. All applicants must have at least two years of professional accounting experience. This means that CFE candidates do not necessarily need to possess a master’s degree to sit for the CFE exam. You can calculate your own points by using the ACFE Point System calculator.
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The demand is growing for specialists in the field of financial investigation. With more and more emphasis being placed on compliance, the demand will only continue to grow. If you want to fill the growing gap, consider attending school and earning your degree in accounting and criminal justice. Once you do this, gain experience in an entry-level role and then test to become a CFE so you can become a highly sought after forensic accountant.