For new or aspiring Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), choosing a specialty can be an excellent way to get a job after completing the Uniform CPA Examination. Forensic accounting is one of these specialties that trained CPAs can specialize in.
Forensic accounting is the investigation of fraud or embezzlement using accounting skills as investigative tools. There are many ways to get a job as a forensic accountant. Accounting firms often employ forensic accountants within specialized forensic divisions. Law enforcement agencies and lawyers also hire forensic accountants to investigate potential wrongdoing by various parties. Over the past seven years, state governments and the federal government in the United States have been cracking down on financial impropriety, making forensic accountants valuable and in demand.
As a CPA, you can apply to earn certification as a forensic accountant. You can apply with the Certified Fraud Examiners’ (CFE) certification, ensuring that you know the structures of common fraud schemes. Basically, because fraud is usually well hidden, you have to know what to look for to root it out. Earning this certification can lead to a salary increase of 22% over those without the credential. Earning a CFE is not required to work as a forensic accountant, but it has many benefits.
Barry Dufrene is a CPA with decades of experience living in Morgan City, Louisiana. He worked for St. Mary Parish for 32 years before retiring in May of 2012. Dufrene decided that his days as a CPA weren’t over, however, and he went back to work as the Chief Financial Officer for Yellow Fin Marine Services.