With the increase in fraud cases, the demand is increasing for professionals who identify and prevent fraud. Several colleges and universities offer online certificate and degree programs in subjects related to fraud management, including forensic accounting--which focuses on fraud investigation--and fraud examination. Online programs are available at the bachelor's, master's and graduate certificate levels. Students in these programs may be required to get field experience before they finish.
Bachelor of Science
The BS in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination program provides a comprehensive foundation in fraud detection and accounting. In addition to general education courses, students take several levels of accounting classes, along with cost accounting, financial statement analysis and business law. Other course topics include interview techniques, auditing, forensic accounting, investigating with computers and detection of fraudulent financial statements.
Master of Business Administration
MBA programs are offered in fraud management, fraud examination or forensic accounting and combine a business education with courses in fraud management. Students take courses in basic business and financial topics, such as managerial accounting, quantitative analysis, financial reporting and financial management. They also take courses in fraud examination, forensic accounting, investigating with computers and information security. Some programs, given the flexibility, can be completed in as few as 15 months.
Graduate certificate in fraud management programs, designed for professionals working in the field, seek to provide students with analytical skills and a background in law and theory that they can use to protect the financial interests of individuals, companies and government entities. Certificate programs usually comprise about four classes, in topics such as criminal justice and legal concepts of fraud, fraud investigation, fraud prevention and data analysis.
Professional Training Programs
There are a number of associations that offer online courses in fraud management. These include organizations for CPAs and other accountants as well as lawyers, bankers, notaries and management personnel. Courses are generally self-paced and include:
- Ethical theory in fraud
- Risk assessment in fraud
- Evidence collection and protection
- Financial statement fraud
- Fraud schemes
- Information gathering and analysis
- Preventing fraud
- Fraud examination basics
Courses are usually offered asynchronously to allow students to complete work wherever and whenever they choose. Students typically interact with classmates and their instructor via online discussion boards or email.
A number of professional organizations and associations also offer their own training in fraud management. These courses are generally self-paced and include a variety of topics.
Fraud management graduates can work in many industries, including credit card and financial services, insurance, telecommunications and banking. Master's degrees can lead to management positions.
Online degree and certificate programs provide a convenient way to get formal training in the growing field of fraud management. This is particularly helpful for professionals already working in the field who want to advance their careers by earning a master's degree or graduate certificate in this subject.