What Is Forensic Auditing?
Forensic auditing is also known as forensic accounting. A forensic auditor is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who uses special techniques to detect or prevent certain types of crime for businesses and government agencies. Learn more about forensic auditing and what it takes to become a forensic auditor.
Overview of Forensic Auditing
As a forensic auditor, you'd find yourself investigating white-collar crimes like fraud and embezzlement. Your accounting skills would enable you to follow money trails and conduct audits of finances. You'd also assist private individuals and corporations under audit to prove their innocence. Forensic auditors are often required to prepare reports on their findings and testify as expert witnesses in trials.
You may also find yourself investigating financial claims for an insurance company. Some forensic auditors work to detect insider trading and securities fraud. Forensic auditors can be called on to help sort out almost any type of illegal financial activity.
Important Facts About Forensic Auditing
|Median Salary (2018)||$65,537 (Forensic Accountants)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||10% (For all Accountants and Auditors)|
|Similar Occupations||Credit Analyst, Contract Administrator, Finance Manager|
|Key Skills||Analytical, organizational, and communication skills|
|On-the-Job Training||Part-time internships are available|
Sources: PayScale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Forensic Auditor Education
Forensic auditors begin as CPAs. Most accountants have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting. Most states require additional credits beyond what's typically needed to complete a bachelor's degree, but these credits don't necessarily need to come from graduate school. Once you finish your education, your state's board of accountancy or similar government entity must license you. Each state has different requirements, so check with your licensing board for specifics.
Forensic Auditor Certifications
At least two recognized certifications are available for forensic auditors. The first is through the American College of Forensic Examiners International (ACFEI). This organization awards the Certified Forensic Accountant credential, which you can pursue after you become a CPA and build work experience. To earn the credential, you must enroll in a course from the ACFEI that covers judicial procedure, fraud prevention, evidence collection and more. Once you complete the course and pass an exam, you'll earn the credential. You can't register for the program if you have any prior felony convictions.
Another option is to become a Certified Fraud Examiner. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) offers a professional credentialing exam to members of the association. You'll need experience in a fraud-related field, such as criminal or civil investigations, fraud litigation or law enforcement. While the governing board prefers that you have a bachelor's degree, it may be willing to substitute corresponding years of experience for academic studies.