Wondering what jobs can you get with a criminal justice degree? Financial forensics, also referred to as forensic accountants, are professionals who work with law enforcement agencies to investigate the financial data of organizations or individuals. Generally, these professionals are called upon to help build a case against or for a third party. If you have a genuine love for the accounting field, but you wish to do more than simply prepare taxes, then a career as a forensic accountant may be your ideal option. While this career generally requires a certificate or degree in criminal justice, you must be prepared to expand your career by taking accounting and forensic accounting courses.
Job Duties of a Financial Forensic Accountant
While the exact responsibilities and duties of this position will vary based upon your employer and the industry in which you’re employed, nearly all of the positions within this field feature several universal duties and responsibilities. Some of these functions include:
- Conduct forensic investigations and analysis of various financial records, which include both digital and hard copy financial documents.
- Perform detailed research to trace the pathway of financial transactions in order to help identify various assets that may be recovered.
- Prepare detailed forensic reports based upon findings discovered throughout the investigation.
- Cultivate reports and other forms of analytical data that’s used for litigation. This position may require you to testify for either the prosecution or defense.
While the exact educational requirements for this profession can vary based upon the exact sector you with to work for, forensic accounting professionals are typically required to hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in criminal justice with an emphasis in forensic accounting. Some of the most successful candidates are those who obtain a double major in criminal justice and forensic accounting. Along with obtaining a degree, most employers prefer a candidate to hold a specialized certification. Some of the most desired certifications include:
Certified Fraud Examiner or CFE
Chartered Accountant or CA
Certified Public Accountant or CPA
Salary for Forensic Accountants
The salary for this position can range anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 per year. Of course, the city in which you work will determine your total take home amount. Those who have at least seven years experience within this field generally take home over $150,000 per year. As a general rule of thumb, the larger the company the higher the pay. For example, a major consulting firm will pay significantly more than a nonprofit organization.
The job outlook for this position is promising due to various legislative acts that were recently passed. These laws have created stricter accounting policies, which have not only created more jobs for standard accountants, but also a higher demand for well-trained forensic accountants.