Where will I work in my forensic accounting career?
Because forensic accounting is very much in demand today, forensic accounting jobs vary greatly, and you will be able to work in a variety of settings if you choose. While many forensic accounting careers can be made in traditional workplaces such as accounting firms or the accounting departments of corporations and financial institutions, there is increasing demand for forensic accountants in government institutions such as the FBI, working with public prosecutors or district attorneys or even on the staff of police departments to investigate white collar crimes.
In addition, many graduates of forensic accounting programs choose to work for themselves as consultants. This gives you the freedom of being your own boss together with the excitement of working with a diverse range of clients, though it does require some entrepreneurial skills. However, if you have earned your forensic accounting certification and have made a name for yourself in your forensic accounting career, it is entirely possible to set out on your own as a consultant, and it may be more lucrative.
How long does it take to find a job in forensic accounting?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of accounting as a whole is projected to grow at a rate of 16% over the next decade, which is good news for those interested in jobs in forensic accounting.
In addition, while accountants are usually employed in financial institutions or the accounting departments of companies and government institutions, forensic accountants are also employed by lawyers, police forces, insurance companies, government regulatory bodies and agencies and courts, which means that they are even more in demand than regular accountants.
The most important tool you need to find a forensic accounting job is certification as a certified forensic accountant (CrFA), a certified fraud examiner (CFE) or certified fraud specialist (CFS). Certification is earned through meeting the exam and work experience requirements of the certifying board, so it does not matter to employers if you have earned your forensic accounting degree online or at a brick-and-mortar university, as long as you pass the exam.
How have forensic accounting careers changed over the years?
Forensic accounting is a relatively new branch of accounting that has become popular in recent years, particularly as white collar crime scandals hit the news in the early part of the twenty-first century. As financial instruments have grown more complex, the ability and temptation to commit fraud has grown as well, making forensic accountants a necessary part of many financial and government institutions.
One way that forensic accounting careers have evolved is from only focusing on large-scale financial fraud to dealing with everyday matters. For example, 1 of the first known uses of forensic accounting was in the conviction of Al Capone, which was an enormous case that the world paid attention to.
Today forensic accountants are often employed in much more ordinary cases, such as insurance claims or divorces. In the case of a divorce, a spouse may hide assets to prevent them from being taken into account in a settlement, and it is the job of the forensic accountant to discover those assets.
What are the top employers for forensic accounting jobs?
Careers in forensic accounting can be found in a variety of settings, from major corporations to financial institutions and banks to government agencies. As far as job security is concerned, the best employer is the U.S. government, which employs forensic accountants in agencies such as the FBI, the IRS and local police departments and district attorney offices.
According to Payscale.com, the 3 most popular employers for a career in forensic accounting are KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young, all of which offer professional financial services and are members of the “Big Four” accounting firms. These companies offer higher than average salaries in addition to generous benefits and perks such as stock options and bonuses.
Most top employers hire forensic accountants based on experience and certifications. The institution where you received your forensic accounting degree or certificate, whether an online or traditional school, is not as important as your certifications.