Forensic accounting is a combination of accounting, auditing and investigative skills that are used for the purposes of looking beyond the accounting figures and seeing the nature of the business that is being reported on. Forensic accounting is used in litigation, and a forensic accountant has to be able to conduct the investigation, analyse and report on the findings of the investigation and to be able to respond in an appropriate manner in a courtroom setting.
Accounting, Auditing and Investigation
Although the accounting profession has always understood the need to be able to verify the accounts of companies - thus the profession of auditor - it is only recently that the need to be more pro-active has become apparent. The Enron debacle threw the spotlight on the need for investigative accountancy; forensic accountants had always existed, but the need for specialists who would become involved in litigation on a regular basis and would undertake investigations was seen as being vital.
If you want to become a forensic accountant, you need, first of all, to qualify as an accountant. You need to have a suitable bachelor's degree, and to become licensed as an accountant. You then need to hone your investigative capabilities. There are some graduate courses that will help you develop the skills and knowledge you need, but working as an accountant and as an auditor while you are acquiring these skills will help you to gain the experience you need to become an effective and successful forensic accountant.
Publish date: February 10, 2011