Difference Between Fraud Examiner & Auditor

Fraud examiners and auditors both work with financial data, but they have different primary objectives. This article explores some of the similar duties they have and distinguishes between the focus of the work that fraud examiners and auditors do.

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Comparing Fraud Examiners to Auditors

Fraud examiners and auditors can both work with financial data in their regular duties. While fraud examiners specifically focus on determining whether or not there is evidence someone has committed fraud, auditors review records to make sure that proper procedures have been followed and that the records are correct.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Fraud Examiners Bachelor's Degree $69,470 (for fraud investigators, examiners and analysts) 5% (for financial specialists, all other)
Auditors Bachelor's Degree $68,150 (for accountants and auditors) 11% (for accountants and auditors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Fraud Examiners vs. Auditors

Some of the duties that fraud examiners and auditors perform are very similar. These include gathering financial information and reviewing records. They may also both write reports and inform their client or employer of their conclusions. Fraud examiners might spend more time interacting with others, since they may need to interview potential witnesses. Auditors sometimes specialize in specific industries, and they may also be involved in identifying inefficient practices in a company and ways they can save money.

Fraud Examiners

Fraud examiners spend their careers determining whether or not there's reason to believe someone has committed fraud. They normally need a bachelor's degree to work in this field, and in order to be effective in their work they should be familiar with accounting procedures and applicable laws. Some may specialize in insurance fraud and work for insurance companies, while others may work for the government or financial institutions. Although some duties can be performed in an office during regular business hours, it may be necessary to work during the evening or weekends at times, and traveling to observe people who've made insurance claims may be required.

Job responsibilities of a fraud examiner include:

  • Clarifying the goals of an investigation
  • Determining what data is relevant to the investigation
  • Identifying suspicious activity
  • Maintaining a record of all investigative activities

Auditors

Auditors can play a key role in ensuring companies are financially healthy. They must have a bachelor's degree to enter this career field, but a master's degree may increase job prospects. Those who are interested in career advancement may need a master's degree, certification and practical experience in this field. Auditors may work for financial institutions, accounting firms or various types of companies. It's common for them to spend considerable time working independently in an office.

Job responsibilities of an auditor include:

  • Ensuring applicable regulations have been followed
  • Organizing information
  • Recommending strategies to improve company finances
  • Meeting with clients

Related Careers

If being a fraud examiner sounds appealing, a career as a police investigator may also be something you're interested in, since police investigators also interview witnesses and analyze data related to crimes. Another option for those considering a career as an auditor is to become a financial manager, since financial managers are also involved in advising companies about ways they can improve their financial health.

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