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Forensic Accounting Education, Institutions, and
This chapter explores how coursework in multiple disciplines prepares students to enter the forensic accounting
eld and what professional associations serve the specialists in this rapidly growing profession.
Preparing to Become a Forensic Accountant
College and University Programs
As long ago as 1953, Max Lourie advised colleges and universities to launch forensic accounting courses and
recommended that such programs be developed in conjunction with law schools where practicable. A number of the
current programs focus primarily on fraud auditing and not necessarily forensic accounting. Forensic accountants
need an understanding of accounting, criminology, law, and investigative auditing techniques.
Keystones of Forensic Accounting Curricula
A survey of professors in 2003 ranked 49 curriculum content items for forensic accounting (see Table 2.1). A
good forensic accounting course can cover many of the topics not typically offered by core courses, but institutions
may need to develop creative ways to
ll voids by working with other departments and resources at their schools.
KSAs and Education of the Forensic Accountant
See Table 2.2 for a list of courses that provide the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) one needs for a
forensic accounting career.
Career Tracks in Forensic Accounting
In April 2007,
magazine indicated that the hottest jobs for college graduates were forensic
Income Expectations for Forensic Accountants
Salaries for forensic accountants range from $40,000 to more than $115,000. According to the U.S. Of
Personnel Management, a senior agent with 10 or more years of experience can earn between $75,000 and $90,000
annually. In the private sector, a good forensic investigator can make a base salary of between $125,000 and $150,000.
In November 1999, Kessler International stated that the
rm charges about $300 per hour for forensic consultations,
one-third more than the
rm does for audit work. Forensic accounting services are a meaningful part of many CPA
Specialties Within Forensic and Investigative Accounting
Much of this text focuses on the specialties in forensic accounting, with chapters focusing on skills that
forensic accountants need to uncover fraudulent
nancial reporting, employee fraud related to the misappropriation
of assets, money laundering, litigation support and expert witnessing, cybercrime, and business valuations. A forensic
accounting background is helpful in these professional specialties: accountants, consultants, internal auditors, IRS
auditors, government auditors, FBI agents, SEC accountants, bankruptcy specialists, professors, bank examiners,
cers, and valuators of closely held businesses.