A master's degree program in forensic accounting not only prepares graduates with the required accounting skills to work a variety of business-related careers, but allows them to obtain specialized knowledge of fraud and organized financial crime. This knowledge may prove especially beneficial in the handful of potential careers that we discuss below for those holding a master's degree in forensic accounting.
Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Forensic Accounting
|Job Title||Median Salary (2016)*||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Accountants and Auditors||$68,150||11%|
|Tax Examiners and Collectors and Revenue Agents||$52,060||-6% (Decline)|
|Personal Financial Advisors||$90,530||30%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Accountants and Auditors
Those with a master's degree in forensic accounting can easily pursue a career as an accountant or auditor and apply their skills to carefully checking financial records for accuracy and fraudulent activities. Many accountants and auditors hold a master's degree and may work as public accountants, management accountants, internal auditors, external auditors and more. They are trained to calculate taxes and organize financial records, and may even suggest ways to improve the efficiency of an organization's accounting system. Accountants and auditors also make recommendations to management about ways to reduce costs and increase profits.
Some financial examiners may be required to earn a master's degree for an advanced position in the field. These professionals can utilize a background in forensic accounting as they review the records of banks and other financial institutions for compliance with current laws and regulations. They ensure that these institutions offer safe loans to consumers and monitor the overall financial health of the organization. This may require them to examine loan documentation, balance sheets, meeting minutes and more, as well as to evaluate current regulations and even implement new policies and procedures to improve the organization.
Tax Examiners and Collectors and Revenue Agents
Education requirements vary for tax examiners and collectors and revenue agents, but some may need specialized training in a particular area, such as accounting. Graduates with a background in forensic accounting can easily apply their skills and knowledge of financial fraud to each of these positions as they work to make sure the government receives the proper amount of taxes. Tax examiners typically work with individuals and small businesses to check their tax returns and address any issues with the returns. Revenue agents check for accuracy in the tax returns of larger businesses, while collectors handle overdue accounts to make sure the debt is collected.
Some employers may prefer budget analysts who hold a master's degree, and those with experience in forensic accounting can work as a financial safeguard for their organization by ensuring efficient spending. Budget analysts work to develop an organization's budget and ensure that budget proposals align with current regulations and are accurate. They monitor spending to keep it within the budget and also plan for future spending and needs of the organization. They often work closely with management and/or explain their financial suggestions and reasoning to members of the organization or even the public.
Personal Financial Advisors
A master's degree and certification can prepare a personal financial advisor for advancement in the field. A background in forensic accounting can be helpful as these advisors examine various investment options and opportunities for their clients. Personal financial advisors help their clients reach their various financial goals by suggesting different insurances, taxes, retirement plans, savings accounts, mortgages and more, that may fit the needs of their clients. They must be able to answer their clients' questions about the different options, as well as effectively communicate any risks associated with the choices. These advisors also carefully monitor their clients' accounts for any issues or fraudulent activity and will make changes as needed.
Although a master's degree in forensic accounting offers students a specific skillset in identifying financial crimes and fraud, it can be applied to other business careers that monitor or work with finances. Most of these jobs are expected to grow in the future, and offer median salaries greater than $50,000 (per the BLS).