Forensic Accounting/Fraud

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The Study in Forensic Accounting/Fraud

Some of the most highly sought-after "detectives" are actually forensic accountants and fraud investigators. That’s because white collar and organized crime drains billions of dollars from our economy each year.

The good news is, Wesleyan’s School of Business Administration is now preparing entry-level accountants and others for careers in forensic accounting and fraud investigation.

Forensic accountants and fraud investigators have an eye for detail and a foundation in both accounting and legal concepts. From bankruptcy and divorce cases to major fraud and capital crimes, it’s no wonder forensic accountants, along with auditors who possess these skills, are in such great demand.

The growth of white collar crime alone has lead to the increased hiring of accountants with forensic investigation skills by federal, state, and local agencies like the SEC, the IRS, and the Offices of Inspector General. Private companies, impacted by Sarbanes-Oxley and new auditing standards, are also seeking the same talented individuals. Indeed, a degree with an emphasis in this area helps open the door to any number of interesting and rewarding career opportunities.

Although many schools have added a single forensic accounting or fraud examination course to their curricula, very few offer a multicourse program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Wesleyan’s program is one of only three such programs in the nation.

Students will complete 15-credit hours of forensic/fraud examinationrelated courses as part of Wesleyan’s accounting concentration. Those who complete the program at the graduate level will satisfy the Texas State Board of Accountancy’s requirements to sit for the CPA exam.

Forensic Accounting/Fraud Examination Stakeholder Board

Max Wayman, who serves as the forensic/fraud examination program’s liaison, has extensive experience as a fraud examiner and currently has his own firm. Brad Wheeler, former head of the white collar crime division of the FBI in their Fort Worth field office, is co-anchoring the Tarrant County District Attorney’s economic crimes section. Pressley Darnell is the other co-anchor of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s economic crimes section and was supervisory special agent of the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS Fort Worth field office. Gary Mayberry currently works as a fraud investigator and was a former special agent with the IRS. Jim Mathine is currently a U.S. Postal Inspector in their white collar crime section. John Popham was a former special agent with the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS and currently serves as an enforcement attorney with the SEC.

Why study accounting with forensic/fraud emphasis?

  • According to the 2010-2011 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals, the median compensation for one with less than one year fraud-related experience with a CFE was $75,000/year and without a CFE was $63,100/year.
  • Students are prepared for career paths in non-traditional areas of accounting such as fraud examiners, FBI white-collar crime agents, IRS criminal investigators and forensic accountants as well as in more traditional accounting careers.
  • Majors develop forensic skills through experience in analyzing simulated case information based on actual frauds/financial crimes as well as related corporate and business records to determine if fraud has occurred.
  • Qualified graduates of the accounting program with forensic/fraud emphasis may also take a licensure exam to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as well as other professional accounting exams, including the Certified Fraud Examiners exam.
  • Federal, state, and local governments may hire forensic accountants as treasury agents, governmental auditors, and loss prevention specialists.
  • In the private sector forensic accountants may be employed as internal auditors, private investigators, and fraud control specialists.
  • Fraud examiners may choose to form their own business and contract out their services to attorneys and large CPA firms.
  • Students prepare for CFE exam.
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