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Accountants: Fraud Cops of the Accounting World

Accountants: Fraud Cops of the Accounting World

by Amy Fanter
April 9, 2009

Think an accounting career means you'll spend every day in a cubicle crunching numbers? Well, that's not the case for forensic accountants and those who pursue the designation of C.F.E. -- Certified Fraud Examiner.

Fraud Examiner: Fighting White Collar Crime

Sadly, when you hear Tyco, Enron and WorldCom some of the first things that come to mind are fraud and questionable accounting practices. However, no business is immune to fraud. In fact, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the typical U.S. business loses 6 percent of its annual revenues to fraud, which translates to roughly $660 billion in overall losses.  However, that's good news for those who are considering an accounting career. The increased awareness of fraud generated by big name accounting busts, increased regulation, and new laws like Sarbanes-Oxley, has created a need.  Those who can detect and investigate fraudulent business activities can fill accounting jobs such as internal auditors, forensic accountants and certified fraud examiners.

Forensic Accounting

Tracking down perpetrators of fraud and other white-collar crimes like embezzlement, criminal financial transactions, money laundering and securities fraud takes special accounting training and highly specialized knowledge. Forensic accountants and certified fraud examiners must have a thorough understanding of finance and accounting, as well as a substantial training in the law, interview techniques and investigation skills. In addition, they not only must know how fraud can occur, they must know why it occurs so they can assist companies in implementing policies that will deter others from committing these kinds of crimes.

Accounting Training

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for accountants are expected to grow by as much as 20 percent by 2012. To begin pursing a job as a forensic accountant or a certified fraud examiner a bachelor's degree in accounting is generally required. However, there's no need to quit your day job while you prepare to fight fraud: accounting programs are widely available as online degrees.

If you're looking for a challenging career helping to keep companies free from accounting fraud, now could be a perfect time to consider getting your degree and becoming a forensic accountant or fraud examiner.


About the Author
Amy Fanter can be found working hard for her clients most mornings and playing with her daughter most afternoons.
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