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Are You Part of the Latest Trend in Accounting — Forensic Accounting?

Dr. Robert O’Block, founder the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute (ACFEI), recently announced the Certified Forensic Accountant, course will be offered at ACFEI’s 2005 National Conference on September 30 – October 1 in San Diego, California. This course is specifically designed to help train, prepare, and certify forensic accountants.

Forensic accountants are professionals who use a unique blend of education and experience to apply accounting, auditing, and investigative skills to uncover truth, form legal opinions, and assist in investigations. Forensic accountants may be involved in both litigation support (providing assistance on a given case, primarily related to the calculation or estimation of economic damages and related issues) and investigative accounting (looking into illegal activities).

A forensic accountant may work in the public practice of forensic examination or in private industry. An accountant in public practice may do any of the following:

  • Work with banks, insurance companies, government agencies (police, FBI, IRS, etc.), and others.
  • Be hired by attorneys to investigate illegal activity, evaluate assets-both tangible and intangible, determine the amount a victim’s financial loss, testify as an expert witness, etc.
  • Be engaged by a bankruptcy court.

A forensic accountant working for private industry will work for a private company and may do any of the following:

  • Implement or conduct internal control efforts to ensure accurate financial reporting and to prevent and detect the misuse of company funds and resources.
  • Do proactive fraud checkups, look for financial statement fraud and the theft of assets (occupational fraud by employees).

Forensic accountants have a world of professional opportunities open to them, but the unique role of the forensic accountant necessitates specialized training and skills that are not typically part of an accountant’s formal education. According to O’Block, the Certified Forensic Accountant, course can provide this advanced education and training. Additionally, the Certified Forensic Accountant program allows accountants to earn a credential that can help assure the legal community, employers, businesses, and other stakeholders that the designee possesses an exceptional degree of experience and knowledge to provide competent and professional forensic accounting services.

As an advanced credential, the Certified Forensic Accountant, designation recognizes expertise in forensic accounting based on training, experience, education, knowledge, and skill. The Certified Forensic Accountant designation is available for accountants meeting all of their State Board of Accountancy requirements. Qualified professionals may earn the Certified Forensic Accountant designation  by successfully completing the Certified Forensic Accountant course and exam, or by proctoring the exam.

The Certified Forensic Accountant, course has five major areas of focus.

1. Introduction to Forensic Accounting. The course begins with an introduction and overview of forensic accounting. The class surveys the general concepts of judicial procedure and evidence applicable to forensic accounting and compares civil procedure to criminal proceedings and administrative proceedings. This section of the course also covers alternative dispute resolution, professional responsibility and ethics, admissibility of expert opinions, and potential liability of the forensic accountant. There is a focus on the Federal Rules of Evidence and their typical counterparts in state and other jurisdictions, with particular attention paid to their applicability to documentary and other forms of tangible evidence.

2. The Engagement. This section of the courses addresses the role of the forensic accountant in litigation-consulting engagements and testifying engagements. Engagement retention and types of engagements frequently encountered by forensic accountants are discussed.

3. Fraud. This section provides an overview of fraud investigation and fraudulent financial reporting, including the legal elements of fraud and fraud investigation.

4. Additional Services. This section of the course addresses additional services provided by forensic accountants, including analysis of damages, accountant liability services, audit failure cases, tax failure cases, and consulting failure cases.

5. Valuation. The course concludes with a discussion of valuation, the fastest growing but highly competitive area of forensic accounting. Principles for the valuation of closely-held businesses, professional practices, and interests in real estate businesses are covered.

Upon successful completion of the Certified Forensic Accountant, course participants should be able to do the following:

1. Describe five general concepts of judicial procedure and evidence applicable to forensic accounting.
2. Analyze professional responsibility and ethics.
3. Outline expert report writing procedures.
4. Discuss the challenges to expert testimony and how to deal with Daubert issues.
5. Understand practical approaches to help find and stop fraud.
6. Review the forensic accountant’s role in the analysis of damages.
7. Describe additional services provided by forensic accountants.
8. List the various valuation approaches for valuation.

Additionally, American College of Forensic Examiners International is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. This means that qualified participants in the Certified Forensic Accountant course can earn 15 CPE credits!

Sign up today for the Certified Forensic Accountant, program! Call ACFEI toll free at (800) 423-9737, or e-mail cao@acfei.com.

 


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