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What Is A Forensic Accountant?


Simply put, a forensic accountant is an accountant whose findings are suitable for use in court. These professionals are often used to settle cases where large sums of money have been misappropriated. The cases can range anywhere from business matters to royalty disputes, basically any place money is missing. They may also be used in breach of contract matters or family law cases where a spouse’s support amount is to be determined for divorce purposes.

There are many sub-groups of the forensic accountant genre including Certified Fraud Examiners, Certified Public Accountants, Chartered Accountants, and ACCAs. Each of these groups has its own specialty when it comes to producing reports for the courts. The Fraud Examiners are the group most used by the court system to determine whether funds are where they are supposed to be. Whether it occurs in big or small businesses, embezzlement is a crime and is dealt with by using this type of forensic accountant.

These accountants are detectives in their own right because they use investigative techniques to find if and then where funds have been misappropriated. They are required to have a background in auditing and financial reporting as well as knowledge regarding the litigation process to ensure that their reports will be what the court wants. The information that the reports contain could mean the difference between someone spending a lifetime behind bars or walking free.

The reports must be accurate down to the last penny and this can take quite a bit of work. A career in this type of accounting definitely is not for someone who is not fond of math or auditing procedures but it can be very rewarding to someone who is. There are many programs in schools and colleges around the country that gear their graduates specifically toward this kind of accounting career.

The schools, which can be either the traditional four-year college or an online version, will provide all the necessary classes to earn a degree in this field. These classes are not only geared toward the math portion of accounting but also toward the legal end of things. There will be different courses in legal procedures along with courses regarding how to properly prepare the documents and reports for court use.

Accounting is not just about math when it comes to this area of specialty. For many years, a degree in accounting was necessary not only to work for the Treasury Department but also to gain a position with the F.B.I. as a field agent. This degree was required because many of the major crimes they dealt with involved large sums of money either being stolen or earned through illegal activities.

The forensic accountant is an integral part of the legal system in the United States. This person may be called upon to aid the authorities in solving some very high profile cases, particularly where the money is missing and no one can seem to find it. This can be an exciting field to pursue for individuals who have a head for numbers and a bit of Sherlock Holmes in them.

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The average salary for accountants is about $54,000. Learn more about the salary of an accountant.

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