Earning a Master's in Forensic Accounting Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Forensic Accounting Online?

A master's in forensic accounting online provides a career path in investigations and accounting. These professionals investigate potential financial irregularities by analyzing data. Forensic accountants work in law enforcement, for insurance companies, and as forensic science technicians who assist in criminal investigations. These detail-oriented candidates apply their strong research and data skills to analyze possible fraud and embezzlement.

For more advanced professional positions, companies prefer candidates with an online master's in forensic accounting. These companies seek candidates who understand how to identify and combat fraud using technology, data, and public records. A master's in forensic accounting online teaches students these skills.

A forensic accounting master's degree online provides flexibility for candidates balancing work and school. Instead of commuting to campus, students can use this time to study. Learners complete coursework where and when they choose.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Forensic Accounting Graduates

Master's in Forensic Accounting Salary

Candidates qualify for a range of positions after completing the online master's in forensic accounting. Graduates work in the public and private sector in utilities, manufacturing, and accounting services.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% job growth rate through 2026 for accountants and auditors. The BLS notes that companies may prefer candidates with a graduate degree, making the master of science in forensic accounting online an attractive academic pathway. Changes in tax law and increasingly complex regulations fuel this industry's growth. PayScale notes the average forensic accountant makes $65,607 annually, but bonuses and profit sharing push compensation higher.

Top-Paying Industries for Accountants and Auditors

Industry Annual Mean Wage
Finance and Insurance $74,140
Management of Companies and Enterprises $72,160
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services $69,410
Government $67,100

Master's in Forensic Accounting Careers

A master of science in forensic accounting online leads to a range of career options. Candidates begin as staff accountants, a position that requires a bachelor's degree. Senior accountants and those in higher positions benefit from a graduate degree, as companies seek candidates with an online forensic accounting master's degree. Working with numbers requires these professionals to pay close attention to detail. Forensic accountants work in offices and interact throughout the organization, necessitating strong interpersonal and communication skills.

Staff Accountant

Annual Median Salary: $49,354

These individuals need excellent computer skills to use financial software for auditing and budgeting. They maintain financial records, analyze financial data, interpret statements, and monitor budgets. Staff accountants must work collaboratively with different departments and well with others. Candidates begin their careers as staff accountants prior to moving into higher-level positions.

Senior Accountant

Annual Median Salary: $65,970

Companies seek candidates with a master's degree for senior accountant positions, underscoring the value of an online master's in forensic accounting. These professionals analyze variances and maintain financial records. They must pay close attention to detail since missing one number changes the budgeting outcome and impacts company forecasts.

Accounting Manager

Annual Median Salary: $69,303

These mid-level managers develop and implement procedures to review financial data and manage the accounting department. Management duties include hiring and training staff, and ensuring colleagues follow company policies. If budget problems occur, account managers remedy the issues. They monitor budget changes, revenues, and expenses, and make financial recommendations to businesses.

Auditor

Annual Median Salary: $69,350

These meticulous professionals verify the accuracy of business records. Companies call on auditors when questions arise about financial records. Auditors work in the public and private sector or as independent contractors. They report findings and recommend changes and improvements to accounting procedures.

Financial Controller

Annual Median Salary: $80,884

Companies seek financial controllers with a master's degree and supervisory experience. Controllers oversee financial departments, write prospectuses, and generate profit and loss statements. Controllers prepare financial forecasts, regulatory paperwork, and present financial risk analysis to management. These professionals need excellent communication skills to clearly explain complex financial concepts.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Forensic Accounting Program?

Coursework for an online forensic master's accounting degree varies based on the institution. The classes below provide a look at some standard course topics. Technology plays a role in fraud investigations, resulting in an emphasis on software and data. Students also learn fraud detection techniques.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Forensic Accounting

Detection and Prevention of Fraudulent Financial Statements

Students learn about the impact of fraud on financial information. Coursework explores how to spot common scams. Learners study how to identify possible financial statement fraud by understating liabilities and through faking sales and revenue estimates. Students use analytics to gauge financial statement fraud risk.

Investigating with Computers

Technology plays an important role in forensic accounting. This course teaches students how to use public records to conduct investigations, using databases to access public records, and using the Internet to find records and data. Learners explore software used to spot and investigate possible suspicious financial activity, and programs and spreadsheets used to uncover possible fraud.

Forensic Data Analysis

Students learn how to collect and analyze data stored in computers. This forensic science course applies to the computer and accounting world. Learners study data collection and analysis, computer foundations, and volume and file systems. The course covers how to seek and find hidden evidence and how to recover data removed from computers.

Forensic Audit

Coursework examines the techniques and tools in fraud auditing and investigations. Students learn how to recognize signs of fraud and the best ways to launch an investigation into possible cases. Learners study fraud in accounting and stocks and examine on-the-job theft and embezzlement. The course details the techniques for combating fraud in organizations.

Governance, Ethics, and Compliance

Students learn the basics of corporate governance and the impact on an organization's stakeholders. Learners study for-profit and nonprofit governance models and the responsibilities of all stakeholders. Coursework examines the relationship between board committees and regulatory agencies. This course covers the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation of 2002 and how the law resulted in changes in board practices.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Forensic Accounting Prepares For

  • Core Forensics Accounting Certificate: Offered by the American Institute of CPAs, this certificate program helps forensic accountants broaden their skills. Coursework examines analyzing conflicts of interest, how to preserve documents, conducting an effective interview session, understanding verbal and nonverbal deception, and appropriate measures of evidence collection.
  • Certified Forensics Examiner: Offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), this certification boosts credentials of financial professionals in detecting fraud. The course covers white-collar crime, fraud prevention, and the ACFE code of ethics. The exam tests knowledge of fraudulent financial transaction types, investigative techniques, and how to conduct fraud examinations. Applicants must meet minimum work and education requirements to qualify for the exam.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Graduates with an online forensic accounting master's degree should consider joining a professional organization. Associations offer networking opportunities connecting like-minded professionals, job boards, and mentoring opportunities. The groups inform members of the latest fraud prevention news, trends, and research. Regional and national conferences connect members with experts who discuss their latest research. Organizations offer continuing education or certification that helps members broaden their knowledge and provide proof of expertise.

  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners: The world's largest anti-fraud organization, this group focuses on eradicating business fraud. The association offers the CFE examination and holds members to a code of ethics. The organization offers fraud resources and training events to members.

  • Institute of Certified Forensic Accountants: This institute focuses on forensic accounting and offers members information through magazines, whitepapers, and its bookstore. The group offers certifications for accountants and auditors, and postgraduate studies in terrorism and counterterrorism.

  • National Association of Forensic Accountants: The association serves forensic accountants and offers certification in forensic accounting to CPAs. The group keeps members informed through newsletters and publications and offers continuing education for members.

  • American Board of Forensic Accounting: The group has programs in cybersecurity, forensic accounting, and healthcare auditing. The board offers a monthly newsletter, forensic accounting tools, and articles on forensic accounting. Members receive access to a speaker's bureau, mentoring opportunities, and conference networking.

  • American Institute of CPAs: The institute offers career advice, a mentoring program, and continuing education credits. The organization offers financial forensics certifications and advocates for CPAs on a state and federal level. The group partners with firms on a diversity program for students.

  • American Accounting Association: This association for academics in accounting offers teaching resources, an educational journal, and webinars. The organization holds regional events and an annual meeting. The group's career center connects employers with job seekers.

  • Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance: For women in the accounting fields, the alliance offers a members-only social network, conferences, and a directory of finance professionals. The group's foundation offers scholarships to advance finance and accounting careers.

  • The Security and Exchange Commission: The SEC devotes a section of its website to fraud. The government agency reports actions filed in a range of financial cases. The commission provides a case summary, links to additional details, and provides contact information for whistleblowers.

  • Accounting for Management: The free resource explains financial terms and concepts and offers exercises in capital budgeting techniques and financial problem solving. The group offers quizzes on financial topics and calculators for accounting ratios, costing and variances, and CPV relationships.