Forensic accountants possess specialized accounting skills. They utilize investigative, auditing, and accounting skills to analyze an organization’s financial statements while investigating fraud. Forensic accounting must be thorough and accurate since findings are often presented in court or before administrative review panels.
The role involves an integration of accounting, auditing and investigative skills. You will carry out meticulous investigations to uncover information, identify specific irregularities in financial documents and reports, quantify the exact losses and trace and recover illegitimate funds. You will provide reports of your findings, offering reconstructions and insights into how the activities were carried out.
A common misunderstanding is that forensic accountants spend the majority of their time carrying out research in order to uncover criminal activity, however, in reality only a small portion of the work you will do focuses on investigating fraud.
Additional areas of work include commercial litigation, professional negligence, and loss of profits calculations, expert witness and matrimonial work.
Employers of Forensic Accountant
There are a broad range of employers in the public and private sector, including insurance companies, banks, police forces, government agencies and other organizations.
- extracting data from financial records;
- creating and manipulating spreadsheets;
- performing forensic research to trace funds and identify assets for recovery;
- conducting forensic analysis of financial data;
- preparing forensic accounting reports from financial findings;
- undertaking interviews to uncover and verify information;
- preparing analytical data for court;
- attending court where required;
- understanding the wider economic and legal implications of a case;
- traveling abroad to conduct investigations.
You can get into forensic accountancy with a degree in any subject, and although a degree in accountancy is not necessary, it can give you a good foundation to work from.
You will need to undertake a training contract with an employer and complete a qualification from a recognized professional body in order to then specialize in forensics.
- high levels of attention to detail;
- an ability to analyze data thoroughly;
- creative thinking;
- commercial awareness;
- a methodical approach;
- sound judgement;
- organization and time management skills;
- excellent communication skills and the ability to produce quality written reports;
- IT proficiency.