Do You Like Numbers and CSI? Why Forensic Accounting is for you!
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By Aimee Mhaolcraoibhe
The area of accounting is well known but many people do not realise that all accounts could not
stand up as valid and correct in a court of law. In order to gain that level of acceptance the accounts
need to be reviewed and assessed by a forensic accountant.
What does a Forensic Accountant do?
Forensic actually means to be presentable to a court, so a forensic accountant is one which looks for
the truth in an account to offer as evidence in a court. This evidence could be either for or against
the information listed in the accounts; it is up to the forensic accountant to evaluate the information
and identify if it is factual or not. If a forensic accountant finds an error in an account a part of their
job is to re-evaluate the accounts overall to provide an accurate accounting.
Forensic accountants are called in to review accounts in cases of suspected tax fraud, money
laundering or securities fraud. They are also brought in at times of a company bankruptcy or
liquidation. A forensic accountant is not the accountant that would be tasked with putting together
the accounts in the first place – they are called in to assess the work of other accountants to
determine accuracy. The job consists of analysing, interpreting and evaluating the financial
information presented to them. They are also able to summarise and present their findings in a way
which is easy to understand by everyone. Forensic accountants have to be able to sift through large
volumes of paperwork and account journals in order to create an ultimate report and usually an
exhibition of their findings.
What does it take to become one?
In order to become a forensic accountant it is necessary to have the proper qualifications. Gaining a
degree such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the first step. Earning such a qualification
shows any potential employers that you have the necessary knowledge to analyse accounts and give
valuable insight in relation to those accounts. Studies covered in the CPA program gives the
accountant an understanding of the system that they will be working in as well as the skills needed
to successfully offer forensic accounting analysis.