The Study in Forensic Accounting/Fraud
Some of the most highly sought-after “detectives” are actually forensic accountants and fraud investigators. That’s because white collar and organized crime drains billions of dollars from our economy each year.
The good news is, Wesleyan’s School of Business Administration is now preparing entry-level accountants and others for careers in forensic accounting and fraud investigation.
Forensic accountants and fraud investigators have an eye for detail and a foundation in both accounting and legal concepts. From bankruptcy and divorce cases to major fraud and capital crimes, it’s no wonder forensic accountants, along with auditors who possess these skills, are in such great demand.
The growth of white collar crime alone has lead to the increased hiring of accountants with forensic investigation skills by federal, state, and local agencies like the SEC, the IRS, and the Offices of Inspector General. Private companies, impacted by Sarbanes-Oxley and new auditing standards, are also seeking the same talented individuals. Indeed, a degree with an emphasis in this area helps open the door to any number of interesting and rewarding career opportunities.
Although many schools have added a single forensic accounting or fraud examination course to their curricula, very few offer a multicourse program at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Wesleyan’s program is one of only three such programs in the nation.
Students will complete 15-credit hours of forensic/fraud examinationrelated courses as part of Wesleyan’s accounting concentration. Those who complete the program at the graduate level will satisfy the Texas State Board of Accountancy’s requirements to sit for the CPA exam.
Forensic Accounting/Fraud Examination Stakeholder Board
Max Wayman, who serves as the forensic/fraud examination program’s liaison, has extensive experience as a fraud examiner and currently has his own firm. Brad Wheeler, former head of the white collar crime division of the FBI in their Fort Worth field office, is co-anchoring the Tarrant County District Attorney’s economic crimes section. Pressley Darnell is the other co-anchor of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s economic crimes section and was supervisory special agent of the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS Fort Worth field office. Gary Mayberry currently works as a fraud investigator and was a former special agent with the IRS. Jim Mathine is currently a U.S. Postal Inspector in their white collar crime section. John Popham was a former special agent with the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS and currently serves as an enforcement attorney with the SEC.
Why study accounting with forensic/fraud emphasis?
- According to the 2010-2011 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals, the median compensation for one with less than one year fraud-related experience with a CFE was $75,000/year and without a CFE was $63,100/year.
- Students are prepared for career paths in non-traditional areas of accounting such as fraud examiners, FBI white-collar crime agents, IRS criminal investigators and forensic accountants as well as in more traditional accounting careers.
- Majors develop forensic skills through experience in analyzing simulated case information based on actual frauds/financial crimes as well as related corporate and business records to determine if fraud has occurred.
- Qualified graduates of the accounting program with forensic/fraud emphasis may also take a licensure exam to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as well as other professional accounting exams, including the Certified Fraud Examiners exam.
- Federal, state, and local governments may hire forensic accountants as treasury agents, governmental auditors, and loss prevention specialists.
- In the private sector forensic accountants may be employed as internal auditors, private investigators, and fraud control specialists.
- Fraud examiners may choose to form their own business and contract out their services to attorneys and large CPA firms.
- Students prepare for CFE exam.
Accounting Concentration Courses
3311. Intermediate Accounting I 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC2303 and ACC 2304 (each with a grade of C or better)
An in-depth study of the process underlying the preparation and presentation of an entity’s financial information for external users. Coverage typically includes the accounting cycle, with emphasis on preparation and analysis of financial statements and a detailed study of balance sheet accounts including inventory and long-lived assets.
3312. Intermediate Accounting II 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 3311 (with a grade of C or better)
An in-depth study of the process underlying the preparation and presentation of an entity’s financial information for external users. Topics typically include recognition, measurement and disclosure issues related to equity investments, liabilities, pensions, leases, income taxes, revenue, stockholders’ equity, and cash flows.
3325. Accounting and Financial Information Systems (4325) 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 2303 and ACC 2304 (each with a grade of C or better), and either concurrent enrollment or completion of BUA 2310 (with a grade of C or better). In the case of concurrent enrollment of BUA 2310, any student not continuously enrolled in both courses is subject to withdrawal from ACC 3325 and a student that does not achieve a grade of C or higher in the co-requisite course must repeat the co-requisite course.
A study of the processes, internal controls, and procedures by which an organization's financial information is developed. Emphasis is on capturing, analyzing, storing, processing, and reporting of accounting information as it relates to the information needs of the organization.
3340. Cost Accounting I (4405) 3 hours
Prerequisites: ACC 2303 and ACC 2304 (each with a C or better)
Primary focus is on accounting in manufacturing operations; cost concepts, classifications, and accounting for materials, labor, and overhead are covered; process costing, budgeting, standards costs, direct costing, and differential cost analysis are also included as topics.
4301. Federal Income Taxation I 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 2303 and ACC 2304 (each with a C or Better)
A study of federal income tax laws with particular emphasis on tax compliance, research, and planning for individuals.
4307. Accounting Theory 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 3311 and 3312 (each with a C or better)
A study of the elements of accounting theory as they have developed in the United States, including the influence of accounting on society. This course focuses on concepts, income measurement, asset valuation, and valuation and measurement of equities. Contemporary accounting issues are also analyzed.
4311. Advanced Accounting 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 3311 and ACC 3312 (each with a grade of C or better)
A course designed to introduce consolidated financial statements and international accounting including foreign currency translations. Coverage also typically includes an introduction to governmental and not-for-profit accounting.
4328. Auditing 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 3311 and 3325 (each with a grade of C or better), and either concurrent enrollment or completion of ACC 3312 (with a grade of C or better). In the case of concurrent enrollment of ACC 3312, any student not continuously enrolled in both courses is subject to withdrawal fro mACC 4328, and, a student that does not achieve a grade of C or higher in the corequisite course must repeat the co-requisite course.
A study of the principles and procedures of the verification of accounts, the preparation of working papers, and the completed audit report.
4332. Introduction to Fraud Examination 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 3311 and ACC 3325 (each with a grade of C or better), and either concurrent enrollment or completion of ACC 3312 (with a grade of C or better). In the case of concurrent enrollment of ACC 2213, any student not continuously enrolled in both courses is subject to withdrawal from ACC 4332, and, a student that does not achieve a grade of C or higher in the co-requisite course must repeat the co-requisite course.
This course eamines the pervasiveness of fraud in society and the elements of the various types of frauds that occur in organizations. The course exposes students to current methodologies of fraud prevention, detection and investigation. The course also stresses the role and responsibilities of the fraud examiner/forensic accountant.
4336. Ethics and Professionalism in Accounting 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 4328 (with a grade of C or better)This course examines various theories of ethical reasoning that accountants could use to resolve ethical dilemmas. Both ethical principles and rules are considered. In addition, the concepts of integrity, objectivity, independence, and other core values as experienced in the accounting profession will be studied. The course incorporates the essentials of professional responsibilities, including a history of the regulatory environment and its impact on accountants and the public interest. This course is intended to satisfy conditions of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy that require candidates for the CPA Exam to have completed an approved ethics course.
Forensic/Fraud Accounting Emphasis
4433. Forensic/Fraud IT Audit 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 4328 and 4332 (each with a grade of C or better).
This course will utilize computer-aided data analysis techniques for detecting and investigating fraud cases, examine issues related to the collection and use of digital evidence and the collection of data from electronic devices. Students will use at least one generalized audit software package to create detection tools and test various transaction cycles for suspicious activity.
4334. The Legal Environment and Fraud 3 hours
Prerequisite: ACC 4332 (with a grade of C or better).
This course focuses on legal concepts and evidence management, investigative and analysis techniques, interviewing skills and reporting findings in a litigious environment.
4335. Forensic/Fraud Practicum 3 hours
Prerequisite: 4332, 4433, and 4334 (each with a grade of C or better).
The course will cover all the major methods employees use to commit occupational fraud. Students will learn how and why occupational fraud is committed, how fraudulent conduct can be deterred, and how allegations of fraud should be investigated and resolved.