Forensic Accounting is an exciting field that involves the application of accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to uncover financial fraud. A good forensic accountant must have an inquisitive mind, tenacity and attention to detail, and excellent communication skills. She must work accurately and quickly on tight deadlines, and know her way around the law and court procedures.
According to the Journal of Accountancy, the first forensic accountants were
foundinthe pharaoh’s courts in ancient Egypt, the scribes who inventoried the kingdom’s assets. They worked as teams, independently recording inventory totals. If their final sums did not agree, both scribes were put to death. As you can imagine, that proved to be a great fraud prevention and detection incentive for the royal accountants.
None of the larger accounting firms today use this particular incentive for their forensic accountants, but all of them do have dedicated forensic accounting departments. Within these departments forensic accountants often specialize in: insurance claims, personal injury claims, fraud, construction or royalty audits, and more. Many forensic accountants also work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.
As corporations come under greater public scrutiny, the number of embezzlement, bribery, and securities fraud cases grow and the demand for financial accountability increases, there is likely to be a surge in the need for forensic accountants. Monster.com notes, “Employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 18 percent between 2006 and 2016, which is faster than the average for all occupations.” Advancements in software and electronic surveillance technology increases the likelihood of discovery of financial crimes, Monster.com says, and as success rates of investigations grow, demand for forensic accountants is expected to increase.
Tana Sanderson is the Director of Admissions for California College San Diego. With 18 years of higher education administration and classroom experience, she has served as the chief operational, academic and business officer for both non-profit and proprietary colleges. As a past Dean and Regional Director, she provided direction and leadership, managed the financial aid, academics, career services, distance education, and admissions departments. She has a Master of Science degree in Communications and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from San Diego State University. She has doctoral coursework in business. Tana is a native San Diegan.