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So, What Does a Forensic Accountant Do?

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  • By Shaun Walbridge

What is forensic accountancy?

If you ask somebody what their job or profession is, after they have answered, you will probably have a general idea of what they do and will possibly know someone who does that or even have seen it featured in a programme on television.

However, when I am asked that question, and I respond “forensic accountant”, this invariably leads to the follow-up question of “what does a forensic accountancy do…is it something to do with medical science or the police”.

So, how would you sum up what Forensic Accountants do in 5 words? More on that later.

However, the longer answer is “a Forensic Accountant uses their knowledge of accounting, together with investigation techniques to help solve financial and business problems”.

Still sound boring? Just wait.

What skills do forensic accountants need?

You will most likely have a degree in an appropriate subject – accounting for example. You will also be a qualified accountant, either a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) or a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW, ICAS) or hold a qualification from a body of equal standing.

It will also help if you are a member of The Academy of Experts (MAE), or the Expert Witness Institute (MEWI). You may also want to add Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) to your list of credentials.

You will need to possess strong attention to detail. Most people have this trait when working in this field, but having an investigative mind is an asset to your profession. It does require education in accounting but it also takes somebody who has a desire to help solve financial problems.

Anything that has to do with business dealings, analytical research and being allowed to be curious while working is what sets you apart from a regular accountant. You’ll still be using your accounting skills but as more of an investigator.

Are you getting interested now?

Why would you want to be a forensic accountant?

Why not?

It would surely be one of those interesting careers that would cause people to ask questions once you’ve told them; and who doesn’t like to tell people about what they do for a living, especially when it is intriguing.

You would be working with legal issues such as money laundering and fraud. Forensic accountancy often look over other peoples work too to see if any avenues haven’t been explored, they are always hunting for patterns. They are allowed to be investigative and still work within the scope of their profession. Since a forensic accountant deals with many legal cases, they can also participate as expert witnesses.

It is sounding better and better, isn’t it?

How rewarding is a career in forensic accounting?

It’s very rewarding. You’ll be able to work for a range of top accountancy firms, insurance companies, financial institutions, or even law enforcement agencies.

If you love to join this rewarding profession, I encourage you to do more research on the web. You can do this by visiting websites that cover the profession in more detail.