How Do You Become a Forensic Accountant?

If you find yourself drawn to the world of law enforcement and have a love of numbers, but have thus far not been able to combine the two into a career path that seems compelling, become a forensic accountant and your search will be over. Forensic accountants conduct audits of organizations’ financial transactions and the documentation of those transactions to determine whether any fraudulent activity has occurred. If evidence of fraudulent activity is uncovered, this information is then conveyed to law enforcement for use in prosecuting the parties involved in that activity, according to Investopedia.

Personal Skills to Become a Forensic Accountant

There are no hard-and-fast rules about what type of person can become a forensic accountant. If there were such a set of rules, the first would probably address the issue of numbers. If you do not love numbers, or even if you are merely ambivalent about them, it is reasonably safe to say that life as an accountant is not for you. Beyond having an affinity for numbers, you will find that being organized, managing your time effectively and having a keen eye for detail are useful skills to possess if you want to be successful in the accounting world.

Educational Background

At a minimum, you will need a bachelor’s degree in accounting. If you know for certain that you want to specialize your career in forensic accounting, you may also want to consider pursuing a master’s degree at a postsecondary institution whose business school offers a graduate-level concentration in forensic accounting after you have completed your undergraduate degree.

Courses of Study

One of your undergraduate majors will need to be accounting. Although you will have quite a bit of academic latitude otherwise, an undergraduate degree in accounting is a must if you want to become a forensic accountant. To complete your accounting major, you will likely be required to take courses in financial accounting, cost accounting, federal income taxation, taxation of businesses, state and local taxation, auditing theory and practice, tax research, accounting information systems, accounting periods and methods, ethics in accounting and financial statement analysis. Some business-related electives, such as microeconomics, marketing, statistical analysis for business, supply chain management, business law, financial management and organizational management theory may also be required. Additionally, a complementary major in a field such as business administration or economics may be beneficial.


Employers in virtually every industry and sector of the economy have at least some need for forensic accountants. So, if you want to work for a large corporation, a healthcare organization, a law enforcement agency, a consulting firm, a non-profit organization, a big accounting firm, a government agency or nearly any other sort of organizational entity that you can imagine, forensic accounting will afford you the opportunity to do so, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Related Resource: What is a Tax Examiner?


If you are a motivated, disciplined person who wants to develop an in-demand skillset in a rapidly growing industry, become a forensic accountant