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Fight Fraud as a Forensic Accountant

Fight Fraud as a Forensic Accountant

Peter Vogt, Monster Senior Contributing Writer

January 27, 2010

Get on the Fraud-Cracking Track

So, it’s no wonder that the number of forensic accountants is on the rise. If you’d like to join their ranks, here’s what you can do now to prepare for this field.

  • Develop Your Detective Abilities and Your Financial Skills: Forensic accountants must have the skills of both a private investigator and an accountant, Kessler says. That means your analytical abilities and research skills will be as essential to your success as your eventual financial experience, including knowledge of accounting procedures (proper and improper).

    * Get the Appropriate Credentials: Most forensic accountants have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and many have additional academic preparation in fields like criminal justice or law enforcement. The field generally requires that you have your CPA designation.

To increase your value as a forensic accountant, you can take the certified fraud examiner (CFE) exam, administered by the ACFE. By earning this credential, you’ll show prospective employers that you “exemplify the highest moral and ethical standards” of the profession and you have, in ACFE’s terms, the ability "to conduct complete, efficient, thorough and ethical fraud investigations.

Expect to earn anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 a year in an entry-level forensic accounting position. Once you’ve accumulated a few years of experience, you could see your annual salary reach six figures. It’s not uncommon for veteran forensic accountants to make more than $100,000 a year.

This article originally appeared in Monster’s Career Advice Section.