Forensic accountants not only carry out regular accounting tasks but also help law enforcement agencies in tracking and solving financial crimes. This is a highly specialized field that requires training, excellent educational credentials, and an eye for detail.

Should I Become a Forensic Accountant?

If you are good with numbers and want to assist LEAs in solving financial crimes, then a career as a forensic accountant might be a good choice. Read the following information for more details about the profession.

 

Education

 

Bachelor’s Degree

Major Requirement Finance, Accounting, etc.
License/Certification CPA Required
Experience/Training Practical Training Needed
Key Skills Empathy, Patience, Strong Communication Skills, etc.
Annual Mean Salary – National $79,520 (Accountants and Auditors)
Job Outlook (2019 – 2029) 4% (Accountants and Auditors)

 

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has not published data for Forensic Accountants, but the data for the general category of Accountants and Auditors is available. The job outlook projections predict that Accountants and Auditors will enjoy 4% job growth between 2019 and 2029.

Steps to Become a Forensic Accountant

Aspiring candidates have to complete the following steps to become forensic accountants:

Get a Bachelor’s Degree

Candidates will have to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting. The program should be accredited and should offer concentrations in fraud examination or forensic accounting. This will help you later on in your career.

Get an Internship or Work Part-time

Candidates with no professional work experience will need to pick programs that include internships. Alternatively, they can also find part-time work in fields related to accounting.

Get a Master’s Degree

Candidates will have to get a master’s degree or a professional certificate to meet CPA licensure educational requirements.

Complete the CPA Pre-requisite Work Requirements

Candidates will also have to meet the CPA work requirements before taking the exam. The work experience requirement is two years in an accounting related field.

Register for the CPA Exam

Candidates will have to register for the CPA exam at least six months before the scheduled test date.

Clear the CPA Exam

Almost every state in the US has a board to look after its licensing requirements. Having said that, all accountants have to be Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) to work. Candidates will have to clear the CPA exam, which is a standardized test of 4 hours.

Continuing Education

Almost every state in the US has made it compulsory for CPAs to get continuing education to maintain their certifications. Forensic accountants can also opt for certificates, seminars, and other courses being offered by various business schools. They can also clear the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ test to become Certified Fraud Examiners.

Get Practical Training

Forensic accountants will also have to get some on-the-job training. This will teach them about the nuances of the profession and how to detect and solve financial fraud.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Forensic Accountant?

It usually takes 6-8 years to become a forensic accountant. The duration will vary as per the educational and certification requirements.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Forensic Accountant?

The following are the requirements to become a forensic accountant:

  • Get a Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Get an internship or part-time work.
  • Get a Master’s Degree.
  • Complete the CPA pre-requisites
  • Register for the CPA exam.
  • Pass the CPA exam
  • Get continuing education
  • Get practical training

How Much Does a Forensic Accountant Earn in the US?

Forensic accountants’ specific data is not available with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, but Accountants and Auditors earned $79,520 as mean annual income in 2019.