← Back

Q&A - Forensic Accounting Degrees

Are there any books that I can read to help me decide if a forensic accounting degree is right for me?

One way to decide whether a degree in forensic accounting is right for you is by reading books that describe the everyday lives of forensic accountants. While there are not as many books about forensic accounting degrees in particular, there are plenty about forensic accountants themselves.

If you’d like a quick fictional take on what a forensic accountant does, you can read The Hanged Man by Elizabeth Stewart. The book centers on Kit Forbes, a top forensic accountant who leaves her job only to be pulled back into a mystery.

Another fun tale on the topic of forensic accounting is The Big R: A Forensic Accounting Action Adventure by Doug Ziegenfuss. This book focuses on the use of forensic accounting in sports, as the main character tracks a serial killer using the tools of the forensic accounting trade. Full of factual information, the book can be a fun supplement to those studying forensic accounting or considering such a career.

A recommended nonfiction book by a forensic accounting authority is Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports by Howard Schilit. This interesting read is filled with tales and examples of how financial accounting is used in real-world situations, and reading it can help you decide if a forensic accounting degree is something you want to pursue.

If you are interested in Wall Street, financial regulations and accounting, Fooling Some of the People All of the Time by David Einhorn makes for a captivating primer. The author highlights some shady practices employed by 2 battling financial companies.

What are some online resources that will give me ideas about how to use a degree in forensic accounting?

If you are considering applying for the top forensic accounting degree programs, there are multiple online resources that can give you a glimpse into how forensic accounting degrees are applied. One of these is the National Association of Forensic Accountants (NAFA). NAFA is an accrediting body that provides training and certification to certified public accountants (CPAs) in various fields of forensic accounting.

Another professional forensic accounting organization is the International Forensic Accounting Association, which provides a network for forensic accountants and forensic accounting firms. The site has an active forum where members talk about their experiences, which can provide a glimpse into how forensic accounting degrees are used in the real world.

If you are considering a forensic accounting online degree, it may be harder for you to connect with forensic accountants in the field. However, you can find fellow students and professionals online through LinkedIn groups like Forensic Accounting and Litigation Support or Certified Forensic Accounting Professionals. Reading through the profiles of current forensic accountants can give you an idea of what they do.

In addition, you can read the blogs of established forensic accountants to get an idea of what their jobs are like. Some examples include Forensic Accounting Today, written by practicing specialists, and Caleb’s Forensic Accounting Blog, written by a forensic accountant living in Zimbabwe. Most bloggers are happy to answer the questions of students enrolled in on-campus or online forensic accounting degree programs.

What organizations accredit on-campus and online forensic accounting degree programs?

Earning the best forensic accounting degree online is not worth much if you cannot become a certified accountant. Even if you meet all of the forensic accounting degree requirements of your online or on-campus university, it will be very difficult for you to work as a forensic accountant until you have been certified by 1 of several organizations.

The main certification body for all accountants is the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which issues the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. Upon passing the exam and meeting additional educational and experience requirements, which vary by state, you are declared a certified public accountant.

After you become a CPA, you can further specialize as a forensic accountant through the Certified Forensic Accountant (Cr.FA) program or by becoming a certified fraud examiner (CFE), a credential granted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. The CFE certificate requires at least 2 years of professional experience.

Is a degree in forensic accounting recession proof?

In general, specialized fields like forensic accounting are more likely to be recession proof than fields that require less specialized training or fewer credentials. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the entire field of accounting and auditing is projected to grow by 16% over the next decade, about as fast as average, adding nearly 200,000 new accounting jobs to the U.S. economy. Within those new jobs, forensic accounting and fraud examination are expected to be top growth areas.

If you are deciding between attending a traditional university or getting your degree online, an accredited online forensic accounting degree should be just as valid in securing employment, provided that you are certified as a CPA, certified forensic public accountant (CFPA) or CFE or you have earned your certified in financial forensics (CFF) credential.

If you are considering forensic accounting online graduate programs, you are even more likely to land a secure job with an advanced degree, though you will also need to prove your credentials through certification.