Every year, the USA incurs billions of dollars in losses due to economic and financial crimes. These offenses have a real impact on the nation’s stability and wealth. If you’re curious about forensic accounting, it’s much more than what you see in the movies. The reality of this field is that professionals must use a combination of investigative skills and financial knowledge to detect fraud or any other irregularities within corporate organizations. This post will answer the question ‘what are forensic accounting services?’ and dive into some of the risks associated with the field.
Is Forensic Accounting Dangerous?
Forensic accounting comes with its fair share of risk, as these specialists must often provide expert testimony to courts and uncover the fraudulent activities of criminals and corporations when working alongside law enforcement. According to one FBI chief, “they do everything an agent does except for execute arrest warrants and carry a gun.” So yes, when working on criminal cases forensic accounting can be considered high-risk, as you never know what lengths defendants will go to prevent evidence from being uncovered. However, there are many ways that forensic accountants can deploy their services that don’t involve shouldering this level of peril.
What Are Forensic Accounting Services?
Experienced forensic accountants are able to apply their skills to a wide variety of industries, including law offices, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, government organizations, financial institutions, public accounting firms, and consulting firms. Cases for a forensic accountant will vary widely, depending on their industry, and include the following:
- Discover hidden assets in divorce cases
- Resolve civic matters, including:
- Breaches of contract
- Tort (a law that protects people injured by negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of offenders)
- Business valuation disputes
- Breaches of warranty
- Disagreements relating to company acquisitions and valuations
- Resolve nondisclosure or noncompete breach of contract disputes
- Construction claims
- Expropriations (the act of government claiming privately owned property)
- Product liability claims
- Trademark or patent infringements
Armed with a toolbox of sophisticated analysis techniques, forensic accountants are the detectives of financial crime and legal disputes. These unsung heroes bring justice into focus – preserving corporate integrity and safeguarding national economies in the process.
How Much Do Forensic Accountants Get Paid?
The median salary for Anti-Fraud Professionals is $95,937 for forensic accountants with a CFE and $73,560 for non-certified examiners, according to the 2020 ACFE Compensation Guide. More recently, the career website Zippia has cited the national average salary for this field at $66,833 as of December 2022, with an upper limit of $112,595. Job growth estimates according to the former study predict approximately 125,700 new job openings each year from 2019 to 2029.
Ultimately forensic accounting integrates accounting, auditing, and investigative work to turn up evidence that facilitates the prosecution of financial lawbreakers. Forensic accountants are trained to follow the money trail, no matter how complex it may be, and their research can make or break a case. For this reason, these specialists are in high demand from all corners of the business world. Many companies work with forensic accountants preemptively to ensure their corporate accounts remain in good standing and discourage bad actors from taking advantage, while others may bring these experts on only after they’ve noticed a discrepancy. Whether you think you are the victim of financial injury or not, consider working with a forensic accountant to get to the bottom of things. Our findings might surprise you.