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Salary Information for Forensic Accountants

Career News November 15, 2013

Forensic accountants are the investigative wing of accountancy. They often take on the most difficult cases, which likely involve some aspect of fraud, or at least unwitting but catastrophic error. This is a career choice that requires accounting skills, auditing ability, as well as investigating instincts. The job involves analyzing and interpreting data, considering evidence just as a criminal investigator would. This job qualifies workers for a hefty salary.

The Average Salary for Americans

The average accounting salary is $74,000 per year in a big city, though forensic accountants report anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000. The actual number depends on the location of the job, as well as the level of expertise you bring to the company. Some workers can easily make $150,000 per year.

An aspect that can help is seeking certification, namely as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This means taking and passing the certification exam and meeting all levels of work experience. There may also be further schooling involved, and certification from a union, such as the American College of Forensic Examiners, can go a long way in boosting your salary.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this career is rising and will do so for another three years. When recession strikes, fraud cases increase. The worse it gets, the more companies focus their efforts on preventing shortcuts and improprieties.

More Ideas on How to Increase Your Pay

While certification is always a safe bet, accumulating more experience is a wise move. Consultants get paid the highest because they branch out and offer specialty services. Seeking post-college education and work experience can also qualify you for greater responsibility and salary. To some extent, your city, industry specialty and experience affects your earning potential. Big cities usually pay more.

Specializing in a business sub-field can wield higher salaries. Individuals who seek out experiences and educational backgrounds in bankruptcy analysis can earn up to $72,000. Auditors and litigation support workers can earn between $50,000 to $60,000, and internal audit managers can earn up to $80,000. A desirable skill set includes leadership ability, experience in management, and strong social skills, since you will be conversing with management, as well as all levels of employees, or outside clients.

A College Education Starts You on the Right Track

Starting your career with a college degree is the best way to exceed expectations and be taken seriously as a qualified candidate. The best subject is accounting, above all related subjects. An MBA shows initiative and gives you the leadership abilities you need, as well as the critical analysis skills that companies depend on. Work experience also commands a higher salary, so aim to find work during college, perhaps as an accountant.

In this modern age, forensic accountants are helping companies earn more money by minimizing the chance for error and fraud, essentially playing a significant part in managing profitability. You can excel in this career profession by going back to school at UMCP, UCLA, University of Michigan, Drexel University, or another college of your choosing.

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