Forensic accountants track down criminal activity in finance.
Forensic accounting, also known as financial forensics, requires a sharp investigative instinct combined with a talent for crunching numbers. Much of what forensic accountants do boils down to identifying and pursuing indicators of financial crimes such as fraud, theft, or embezzling. They may work with contracts or appear as witnesses in court.
Forensic accounting work may include...
- Finding hidden assets
- Determining whether fraud has occurred
- Calculating financial damage or economic loss
- Collecting and presenting evidence
Forensic accountants may put their skills to use in a number of environments, whether that means working directly with law firms and government agencies or with risk management and consulting firms. Each area differs in scope; a forensic accountant working with the government may end up searching financial records for evidence of organized crime or political corruption, while one working in corporate security might spend more time analyzing taxes for patterns that could impact profits and assets.
This is a career that requires at least a Bachelor's degree and some type of certification such as a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CFF (Certified in Financial Fraud), and of course the state CPA licensure that allows a qualified individual to practice as a public accountant.
Learn more at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
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For information about the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) designation, visit
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