Forensic skills in high demand
New AICPA report offers a roadmap for training accountants in a hot niche
As the annual price tag for fraud at Ameri-
can business soars to nearly $1 trillion, the
demand for CPAs that provide forensic accounting services has increased exponentially — a spike that appears in no danger of
waning over the next several years.
Estimates of the number of CPAs who currently provide forensic accounting hover between 20,000 and 30,000 practitioners, while
the American Institute of CPAs said that in
less than two years, it has awarded more
than 3,500 Certified in Financial Forensics
credentials, more than four times the number
BY BILL CARLINO / NEW YORK
and then interpreting and communicating
the findings in courts, boardrooms or other
venues. Not surprisingly, attorneys tend to be
the primary clients of forensic accountants.
However, despite the burgeoning demand
for forensics, the skill sets that establish a solid foundation for the more traditional audit
and tax work do not always transition seamlessly to forensics services.
Toward that end, the AICPA queried forensic CPAs, attorneys and academics on what
they felt were the essential skills needed to
detect financial fraud, and subsequently ana-
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Percentage of respondents identifying traits
as “core skills” in forensic accounting
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initially projected when it rolled out the CFF
designation in June 2008.
Meanwhile, the National Association of
Certified Valuation Analysts last year unveiled
its Forensic Accounting/Investigation Methodology, a software-based civil and criminal
forensic accounting methodology that it augmented with a series of forensic workshops
and seminars throughout the country.
Forensic accounting encompasses col-
lecting, analyzing and evaluating evidence,
lyzed the responses in a report, Characteris-
tics and Skills of the Forensic Accountant.
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