Online Courses in Forensic Accounting
The overviews below are for commonly offered online forensic accounting courses.
- Introduction to Forensic Accounting Course: This course gives an overview of the forensic accounting specialty, focusing on its growing importance in corporate investigations and litigation. Students explore investigative methods used by forensic accountants and learn how their findings play into the legal process.
- Foundations of Managerial and Financial Accounting Course: Students are introduced to fundamentals of the accounting process, including financial statement preparation, company disclosure requirements, and financial information interpretation. They come to understand income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow reports, as well as learn how to identify red flags for fraud. Students explore discrepancies that can lead to fraudulent financial reports, ways that fraud can occur, and methods of analysis used to determine fraud.
- Computer and Internet Fraud Course: Students in this course learn about legal issues in computer fraud. They also explore the use of viruses and other Internet intrusions, common types of computer fraud, e-mail monitoring, and security system applications. Other topics of discussion include avoiding computer hacking and implementing an effective information security policy.
- Special Study on Fraud Detection and Prevention Course: Students explore environments that are at high risk for fraud due to misappropriation of assets and insufficient internal controls. They learn to identify vulnerable areas in an organization, perform fraud risk assessments, identify suspicious management behavior, and create fraud reports based on findings. Another focus is fraudulent income and asset transfer in the context of divorce and bankruptcy cases.
- Financial Statement Analysis Course: This course teaches students to understand and analyze financial statements with an eye to detecting financial fraud. Business-related financial documents, including income statements, profit and loss sheets, balance sheets, and cash flow statements, are examined. The course also demonstrates the impact that acquisitions and mergers can have on financial documentation and ways that fraud can occur.
- Detection and Prevention of Financial Reporting Fraud Course: Students explore types of fraud that might be encountered within an organization's accounting department, along with techniques used to assess the risk of financial fraud. They learn about actions that can lead to financial fraud, including asset valuations, off-balance sheet liabilities, conditional sales, improper expense capitalization, and fraudulent sales. The course emphasizes what to look for when doing a risk assessment and how to prevent fraud from occurring.
- Computer Investigations Course: Students in this course learn about specific computer programs and software that they can use to detect fraudulent activity. Additionally, students learn how to conduct effective Internet searches for useful information, such as accessible public records, and how to analyze databases and spreadsheets for fraud detection.
- Advanced Auditing Course: This course explores advanced concepts that go beyond financial auditing. Topics include ethics in auditing, dealing with auditing errors, and current auditing trends and research.
- Federal Taxation of Corporations and Partnerships Course: Students examine theories on income taxation as they relate to business partnerships or corporations. Practices involving excise taxes on gifts and estates are also addressed.
In online forensic accounting courses, students enhance their knowledge of accounting while developing the skills needed for investigations into economic crime, civil litigation, mergers, tax crime, and specialized audits. Such courses may be part of a degree program in business or accounting forensics at the bachelor's or master's degree level; graduate certificates specializing in accounting forensics are also offered online. Students enrolled in online forensic accounting courses are required to have a computer with Internet access, and they may need to purchase specialized software. Some schools use printed textbooks in addition to online resources. Online courses in forensic accounting are available fully online or in a hybrid format with some requirements on campus or at a local facility.
To recap, you can study forensic accounting online via certificate programs or through bachelor's and master's degree programs. You'll be studying topics like computer investigations, auditing and fraud.