Getting a forensic loan analysis report done requires the help of many professionals, including a forensic accountant. If you like solving puzzles and are good at them, you could consider becoming a forensic accountant.
The field of forensic accounting merges finance with investigation since professional accountants read between the lines to hunt for fraud, hidden assets, and other financial wrongdoing.
Forensic accountants must maintain their independence and integrity as they carefully consider a range of situations. After that, they must prepare reports and provide court assistance.
What Do Forensic Accountants Do?
In forensic accounting, investigative and auditing skills are used. These accountants examine the financial records of businesses and individuals to check for theft, fraud, and other illegal activity.
The two primary functions of forensic accounting are investigation and litigation support. Forensic accountants examine financial records and other data to seek clues of potential criminal activity during the investigative phase.
Forensic accountants provide studies and presentations to help resolve a disagreement between two parties outside of court. If the parties end up in court, the forensic accountant may be obliged to give evidence as a witness. Forensic accountants must be comfortable in court and familiar with the rules of engagement.
Fraud auditing is related to forensic accounting, even though it occurs after an incident. While fraud auditors attempt to prevent fraud on a proactive basis, forensic accountants are responsible for locating evidence of wrongdoing after it has already occurred.
Where can I find a forensic accountant?
As a forensic accountant, you may work in a variety of industries. There are several accountants working for public accounting firms, some of which could have their own forensic accounting sections. Other possible customers for forensic accountants include attorneys, insurance companies, banks, and governmental or law enforcement agencies.
Family law, business valuation, economic damages, and fraud and financial investigations are the four main areas in which forensic accountants are used. In family law situations, forensic accountants may also be helpful. Forensic accountants, for example, may find hidden assets or ascertain the true owner of financial assets after a divorce.
In order to get a frank evaluation of their financial status, business owners may engage a forensic accountant. Business values often result from mergers, acquisitions, and other business expansions. Forensic accountants can also find missing money for both businesses and individuals.
How to Become a Forensic Accountant
The first step to becoming a forensic accountant is earning a college degree. You could opt to specialize in forensic accounting after acquiring some work experience by earning a certification in that field. This method might be lucrative even if it could be pricey.
Accountants must possess a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a closely related discipline. A master’s degree in accounting is often helpful as well. Some colleges now offer master’s degrees in forensic accounting for those wishing to specialize or further their education.
The ACFE states that a degree in criminal justice or law enforcement may also be helpful in this line of work. You’ll need to understand how the legal system works and how trials are conducted, so consider signing up for electives or online classes to improve your résumé.
Employers often prioritize candidates who have CFE certification. CFE certification calls for ACFE membership and test success. We’ll talk more specifically about the CFE accreditation process in the next section.
Any accounting position benefits from having the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. Still, the licensing process may be costly and time-consuming. To become a CPA, you must have a college degree and professional experience and pass the Uniform CPA Examination®.
The CFE Certification Process
To qualify for the CFE certification, you must first join the ACFE. Regular memberships cost $195 annually, while student memberships are $25 less expensive.
Suppose you’re a graduate student or a senior in an undergraduate program. In that case, you may also be able to get an affordable CFE exam package. The $399 cost includes the cost of the CFE test preparation course, the exam application fee, and one year of CFE membership. For normal ACFE members, the prep course and exam cost around $1,200.
The ACFE offers a few options for exam preparation, both offline and online. You can enroll in a four-day refresher course or study on your own using ACFE-sold materials. The club also promotes a 90-day challenge that includes weekly check-ins and monthly study plans.
To be qualified to take the exam, you must have 40 points in the ACFE’s scoring system, which is equal to four years of college. After passing, you need to get an additional 10 points and two years of fraud-related job experience. You may get those 10 points by achieving a separate professional distinction, such as the CPA certification.
The CFE exam costs $450. Legislation and investigation, financial transactions and fraud schemes, and fraud prevention and deterrence are the four issues it addresses. Whether you take the exam in person or online, you must pass each section with a mark of at least 75%.
After getting your CFE certification, you must keep it up to date. To maintain their certification, CFEs must pay annual dues and fulfill continuing education requirements.
The CPA licensing procedure
Deciding if you are qualified is the first step toward becoming a CPA.
You must get a license from your state in order to practice as a CPA, and each state has distinct educational requirements. Verify the regulations in the state where you want to work. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy provides state-by-state details on licensure requirements.
Within 18 months, candidates must pass each of the CPA test’s four sections. A few of the subjects addressed are financial accounting, reporting, regulation, financial auditing, and business concepts. The exam is challenging: The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants reports that the exam’s pass rates in 2022 for all regions varied from 45.3% to 60.7%. (AICPA).
After passing, you’ll need to apply for a CPA license in your state and maintain your certification by taking further courses.
For information on foreclosure defense call us at (877) 399 2995. We offer litigation document review support, mortgage audit reports, securitization audit reports, affidavit of expert witness notarized, and more.