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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Fraud Investigation

Majors Overview October 6, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in fraud investigation and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Fraud Investigation

Few schools, if any, offer master’s degree programs specifically in fraud investigation. There are several related programs for students interested in the field, such as Master of Science (M.S.) in Forensic Accounting programs and Master of Business Management (M.B.A.) programs with fraud management concentrations. Program graduates from both programs can expect to become adept at analyzing financial statements and assisting attorneys in fraud investigations. Graduates from some programs are also adequately trained to acquire relevant industry certifications, including the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

Master of Business Management (M.B.M.) Programs in Economic Crime and Fraud Management

Program graduates with an MBA in Economic Crime and Fraud Management get a wide array of corporate taxation, accounting, and financial analysis skills. These skills can give them a good understanding of securities trading, the nature of financial instruments, generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and insurance. Graduates use their knowledge of fraud management, and economic crime to verify regulatory compliance in various industries, such as banking, insurance, and finance.

MBA graduates can seek roles that involve leading a corporate office with a focus on regulatory compliance or a team of fraud investigators. Graduates receive training to enable them to take the Certified Fraud Examiners exam; some schools offer programs in online formats. A 4-year degree is the minimum requirement for enrollment.

Coursework

Program coursework augments foundational MBA and accounting courses with statistics, quantitative and qualitative data analysis, and math courses to provide a basis for a curriculum dealing with taxation, complex financial instruments, and insurance. Coursework may also cover corporate and taxation policy. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Loss prevention
•Investigation techniques
•Fraud analysis
•Leadership
•Research methods

Career Choices

Program graduates can seek careers related to financial investigations in both the private and public sectors. They may choose from possible job positions such as:

•Financial Investigator
•Independent auditor
•Internal auditor
•Forensic accountant
•Government accountant

Job and Wage Outlook

PayScale.com reported that in May 2014, forensic accountants brought in an average annual wage of $64,568, with the highest wage paid to these workers exceeding $110,000.

Continuing Education Choices

Entry-level careers are available to those with a 4-year degree and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. A fraud investigation career would also require the passage of the Certified Forensic Accountant (CFA) and CFE exams.

Master of Science (M.S.) Programs in Forensic Accounting

After the undergraduate degree and passage of the CPA exam, a master’s degree in forensic accounting may be obtained. An incoming student to this graduate program may learn about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, among other regulatory requirements. A seminar before graduation will require the application of GAAP practices, financial reporting, and fraud investigation skills.

A superior command of corporate governance, financial instruments, taxation and internal auditing controls has to be demonstrated by program graduates. Once they demonstrate their knowledge and earn a degree, graduates may seek careers as financial analysts.

Coursework

Program coursework covers regulatory compliance, financial instruments, and advanced accounting. Students will learn quantitative research and statistical skills, in addition to the ability to create the financial reports of government agencies or shareholders. These include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), or the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Corporate finance
•Corporate taxation
•Forensic accounting principles
•Managerial Economics

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a job growth rate of 16% was expected for financial analysts (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The demand is due to the growth of hedge funds with the increased complexity of financial instruments and the entry of foreign countries into international markets. In 2012, these professionals brought in an average annual wage of $76,950 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Program graduates may seek enrollment in a Ph.D. program in Accounting that could lead to research and academic careers. Graduates may also seek jobs with government agencies as consultants on fraud investigations.

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