A forensic accountant is responsible for examining business and tax records as to identify any irregularities that can make a difference in criminal and/or civil cases. Part tax detective and part accountant, forensic accountants audit business books in order to detect any evidence of financial crimes such as corruption and embezzlement.
Professionals in this field are typically certified public accountants (CPAs) and work in local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI and the United States Secret Service. Forensic accountants can also work on behalf of corporations and public accounting firms. As a specialist in this area of accounting, one may also act as a contracting consultant, start their own consulting business, or advance into a supervisor position within a firm, law enforcement agency, or corporation.
Skills and Duties
- Review and audit financial records through forensic techniques and methodologies
- Investigate suspected financial crimes or irregularities in financial records
- Evaluate and identify monetary discrepancies in funds on behalf of government agencies, public companies, and private entities and corporations
- Testify in court as an expert in this field, for civil and criminal cases
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for auditors and accountants as a single employee category was $68,150 in 2016¹.
The BLS has projected a 10 % growth in accountant and auditing employment by 2026¹
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accountants and Auditors, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-5 (visited October 27, 2017).