Forensic accountants examine financial records of organisations or individuals with the objective of providing evidence that could be used in resolving or settling disputes or litigation.
Forensic accountants learn specialist techniques and accountancy skills to investigate a range of fraudulent activities, including money laundering and tracing and recovering missing assets.
As investigations may lead to judicial proceedings, forensic accountants work closely with legal professionals.
Requiring high-level analytical and problem-solving skills, a career in forensic accountancy is highly demanding and equally rewarding.
Entry and progression
Forensic accountants are usually employed by larger accountancy practices and specialist firms.
Government agencies and regulatory bodies also employ forensic accountants.
Forensic accountants are professionals who have qualified with, and are a member of ACCA, or other recognised bodies.
Forensic accountants are usually recruited from areas such as compliance or anti-money laundering units.
For those who work as a Forensic accountant, or aspire to be a Forensic accountant, the most relevant exam options are:
Remember it's not just about exams. To start and progress in forensic accountancy, trainees need the right experience to become competent.
Performance Objectives (PO) which would provide great experience and must be signed off as part of the Practical Experience Requirement (PER) could include:
High level competencies required by forensic accountants include:
Governance, Risk and Control
A. Evaluates organisational structures and governance to protect the long-term interests of stakeholders.
B. Recommends appropriate strategies to ensure adherence to governance structures and application of best practice internal controls.
C. Identifies and manages risk appropriately.
D. Uses risk management for the best interests of an organisation and its stakeholders.
E. Monitors and applies relevant legislation, policies and procedures.
Ethics and Professionalism
A. Develops advanced ethical values and professional skills in the promotion of public interest and the profession.
B. Demonstrates personal effectiveness in fast changing environments.
C. Encourages innovative thinking within the context of professional scepticism.
D. Thinks proactively about the future, applying professional judgement and commercial intelligence and seeks specialist input when needed.
E. Communicates effectively and influences others.
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Careers in finance
Read real-life case studies of ACCA members and students to learn more about their careers and the industries, sectors and roles they work in.