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Forensic Accounting: Uncover Corporate Fraud, Waste and Theft

In an age where CSI dramas are all the craze, crime-fighting careers in a number of industries have come into the spotlight. Accounting is no exception, as a field called forensic accounting is quickly becoming one of the most popular career specialties in the business of number-crunching. In brief, forensic accountants track down and uncover fraud, waste, abuse and theft committed by displacing, exaggerating or otherwise fudging the numbers. This career path combines a passion for accounting and criminal justice, and is the perfect fit for service members interested in both.
Forensic Accountants Fight Crime
Know how the infamous gangster Al Capone was finally sent to jail? It wasn’t for calling hits—it was for tax evasion. Recently ex-Enron CFO Andrew Fastow was sentenced to six years in prison for conspiracy, fraud, insider trading and money laundering. It was forensic accountants who followed the paper and number trail Fastow left behind, providing evidence at his trial.

Forensic accountants routinely investigate while collar crimes like Fastow’s, along with securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies, contract disputes and other complicated accounting procedures. They combine an expertise in accounting with law and investigation. Forensic accountants often appear as expert witnesses at trials.

Break into Forensics: Earn Your Degree in Accounting
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting careers begin with a bachelor’s degree. Most accountants are required to pass the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam once they receive their degree. This career field is expected to grow faster than average through the year 2014. Accountants made between $39,890 and $66,900 in 2004, though some earned as much as $88,610.

With the help of the Army’s Tuition Assistance Program and the myriad of online courses in accounting to choose from, you can begin working toward a career as a forensic accountant before you leave the service. As a bonus, you can earn up to 100 Army promotion points for civilian education, helping you get ahead both in the service and in your future career.

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