Online Forensic Accounting Bachelor’s Degree
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Forensic accountants detect financial fraud for insurance companies, government organizations, and banks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs in financial examination and accounting to increase 10% between 2016 and 2026, an above-average growth rate that indicates promising employment potential for educated candidates.
Students in online forensic accounting programs gain investigative and financial bookkeeping skills. This guide explains more about a bachelor's in online forensic accounting, including skills you will acquire and possible careers that lie ahead.
Why Earn an Online Forensic Accounting Degree?
The best online forensic accounting degrees offer students rigorous coursework and flexible schedules. Many programs feature eight-week or 10-week courses, which allow learners to take one course at a time and finish in a reasonable timeframe. Other students take a few classes at once and start their new careers in accounting more quickly.
Online learning benefits parents, working professionals, and other busy individuals who wish to earn a degree. Programs that offer asynchronous courses let learners log in and complete assignments from anywhere at any time, as long as they meet the deadlines.
College programs also require significant financial investment. Students who choose distance education over on-campus learning usually reduce their financial burden. Not only can they continue to work, but they can also avoid the costs that commuting to school can incur. Furthermore, many affordable online forensic accounting degrees offer special tuition and fee discounts for distance education students, including breaks on out-of-state tuition for nonresidents.
What Can I Do with an Online Forensic Accounting Bachelor's Degree?
Forensic accounting graduates gain skills that can help them pursue several different careers in business, accounting, and finance. While a forensic accountant may be the most apparent job title for these candidates to seek, graduates also work as accounting managers, financial consultants, and auditors.
Professionals with this educational background can work in the public or private sector. Some investigate fraud on behalf of the government, while others ensure private businesses protect their assets legally. Accredited online forensic accounting degrees can also allow candidates to pursue graduate degrees, such as an MBA.
Skills & Knowledge Gained
Undergraduate online degrees in forensic accounting give learners broad knowledge of the financial world, along with specialized courses to help them succeed. Degrees candidates gain solid understandings of essential accounting practices, personal finance, business practices, tax codes, and analytics. Some of the first accounting courses students encounter cover foundational accounting, upon which the rest of the program builds. While learners with associate degrees in accounting possess some of these basic skills, a bachelor's degree will help them expand on this knowledge.
Bachelor's degree candidates learn how individuals and businesses try to cheat existing financial systems. Experienced professors help learners recognize illegal and fraudulent practices. This skill helps professionals investigate others or keep businesses above-board.
Degree candidates also gain a full understanding of the U.S. tax code. Because U.S. laws about taxes remain complicated, this knowledge benefits many employers. Graduates can even study to become personal accountants and start tax filing businesses.
Finally, the analytical skills in these degrees allow learners to understand complex problems. Companies value this ability, which enables professionals to implement strategies, evaluate their effectiveness, and change them as needed.
Careers & Salary Potential
Forensic accounting graduates work in several industries, including options in the public and private sectors. Those who want to work for a variety of clients may enjoy employment at accounting firms, which other companies hire to run audits and keep books. Students with particular interest in the legal side of accounting pursue work in law firms or law enforcement agencies. Additionally, those who excel in investigating can work for insurance companies or government agencies to identify people who commit fraud against their employers.
- Accounting and Consulting Firms: These companies consist of several qualified accountants, as well as business and account managers. Organizations and individuals hire accounting and consulting firms to complete accounting projects. Forensic accountants in consulting firms help their clients investigate fraud or perform audits.
- Law Firms: Some groups of attorneys specialize in prosecuting or defending financial crimes. These law firms often hire forensic accountants to investigate the finances of individuals and organizations related to their cases.
- Law Enforcement Agencies: Police departments and federal law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, need forensic accountants for several types of cases. These professionals can give insight into financial crimes and motives that other investigators might not have the skills to catch.
- Insurance Companies: These organizations sell policies that distribute payments to customers in an emergency. Insurance companies hire financial investigators to ensure that clients do not fake accidents to acquire money from the insurers.
- Government Agencies: Organizations such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) need forensic accountants. They conduct routine audits and investigate suspected financial fraud. Agencies other than the IRS also need accountants to keep their budgets on track and in line with regulations.
Annual Mean Salary: $65,530
These accounting professionals can work for any of the types of employers listed above. They need strong mathematical, analytical, and investigative skills to succeed. Depending on the employer and the given case, forensic accountants collect, analyze, or testify about financial evidence. Organizations can also hire these professionals to keep their books above-board.
Auditor or Accountant
Annual Median Salary: $69,350
Accountants prepare financial documents based on transaction data, and auditors review said documents for accuracy. On behalf of their employers, they ensure that payments come in and go out on time. Accounting and consulting firms, large companies, and government agencies all hire these professionals. Most managers require their accountants and auditors to hold bachelor's degrees.
Annual Mean Salary: $69,043
While accounting managers overall earn an average of $69,043 per year, Payscale reports that those with forensic accounting skills make $85,814 per year on average. These managers oversee financial professionals within their departments, set budgets, and make employment decisions. They can work in any organization with an accounting department.
Annual Median Salary: $66,205
The average earnings of a financial consultant can vary due to the nature of the work. For example, the annual median salary does not take into account average commissions of $33,000 per year. These professionals often serve as contractors or freelancers who work for a few companies at a time. They analyze financial data, prepare reports, and make recommendations for their clients.
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