As a requirement, I am instructed to research a specific career in the accounting field and dissect it. During my exploration of the different branches in accounting, the one which caught my attention was forensic accounting. Max Messmer said it best, “The Forensic Accountant: The Sherlock Holmes of the Accounting World”. If you dream of a profession where you are one part detective, one part accountant and one part legal expert then perhaps forensic accounting will fulfill that desire of a not so common career. Perhaps by taking a closer look, we can investigate and uncover the workings of a forensic accountant.
Unknown to many, forensic accounting is actually not a new field. It was acknowledged that forensic accountants were employed by the FBI in World War II, and even earlier credited with putting mobster Al Capone behind bars on tax evasion charges. (Messmer) For forensic accountants are professionals trained in the art of detecting, correcting, and preventing fraud and deceptive accounting practices. They are taught to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business reality of the situation. (Zysman) Typical work assignments include investigating and analyzing financial evidence; developing computerized applications to assist in the analysis and presentation of financial evidence; communicating their findings in the form of reports, exhibits and collections of documents; and assisting in legal proceedings, including testifying in court as an expert witness and preparing visual aids to support trial evidence. (Zysman) Forensic accountants usually follow nontraditional paths possessing a variety of backgrounds, including auditing and law enforcement. Many actually start as certified public accountants, learning forensic techniques by handling cases which require those skills. (Messmer) Most enter the field with a bachelor’s degree in business administration or accounting. However, many schools are adding courses in forensic to their...
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