Accounting and financial forensics is a specialized field of accounting born out of the need to look beyond general accounting functions to identify concerns in the financial industry, including financial discrepancies, fraud, risk assessment, cybercrime, compliance concerns, and other issues related to complex financial transactions.
Students earning a Master of Science in Accounting and Financial Forensics (MSAFF) are also on the front lines of tax fraud and money laundering forensics, as well as non-criminal investigations such as determining the value of a business or collecting relevant data related to a bankruptcy.
The MSAFF at Florida Tech gives graduates advanced investigation, critical thinking, and financial auditing expertise to perform work such as financial and tax accounting research, information systems and internal auditing, fraud examination, information security and data intelligence, and financial management and portfolio analyses. Accounting and financial forensics experts can act as financial fraud prevention advisors and must be able to put complex financial information in simple terms for others—such as lawyers, CEOs, members of a jury, or other investigators—to understand.
The MSAFF degree uniquely positions forensic accounting professionals for one of the fastest growing specialty areas for CPAs. It allows students to continue their education in an innovative and highly sought-after area of accounting, while also providing the 150 credit/classroom hours required for CPA licensure. All accounting classes are approved by the Florida State Board of Accountancy for credit toward the requirements to sit for the CPA exam.
While many students who earn a MSAFF have undergraduate accounting degrees, the MSAFF degree program allows undergraduates without an accounting or business degree to take advantage of this program to prepare for high-demand career opportunities.
Accounting and Financial Forensics is one of the fastest growing career fields. Employers look for candidates who have an eye for detail and accuracy, as well as a desire to investigate and focus on the changing banking, investment, and accounting industry. Candidates often work closely with other professionals including legal, information technology, human resources, and chief executives to examine tax and business records and identify irregularities in financial information.
Job growth has been on the increase in part due to the increasingly stringent federal and state regulations concerning financial disclosures and dealings. Plus, with the world’s ever-increasing amount of data for everything in and outside of business, accounting and financial forensics careers continue to expand to meet the needs of a technological world. Cloud computing, automation, changes in banking practices, global business operations, cyber concerns, and a complex tax and regulatory environment mean that accounting and financial forensics careers will continue to be in demand.
Florida Tech is well known for its hands-on learning environment, including the development of internships. Students studying for a degree in accounting and financial forensics have access to internships and learning experiences with leading CPA firms, high-tech companies, government entities, nonprofit organizations, and other service companies, including:
Florida Tech is well known for its hands-on learning environment, including the development of internships. Students studying for a degree in accounting and financial forensics have access to internships and learning experiences with large and small firms.
The MSAFF provides graduates a wider scope on the issues facing the financial industry, concentrating on the ever-increasing amount of data, and the myriad of tools needed to more effectively manage and secure the modern financial climate.
Companies that have offered internships include:
The Nathan M. Bisk College of Business boasts one of the best faculties in the country, a big reason why many consider Florida Tech one of the top universities for accounting. Through their teaching, authored-education material, research, professional networking and community activities, Florida Tech professors integrate business courses with comprehensive accounting courses and hands-on experience, building a solid business framework necessary in the real world.
LuAnn Bean, Ph.D., CPA, CIA, CFE, FCPA, CGMA: Dr. Bean’s research interests include areas of internal auditing, information technology research, technical aspects of current financial accounting pronouncements, ethics and corporate governance, and accounting and business education. Dr. Bean has held a number of high-level positions in the FICPA, IIA and IMA, and is a widely published expert in accounting journals and texts.
Angel Otero, Ph.D., CPA, CISA, CITP, CICA, CRISC: Dr. Otero’s research involves the areas of information systems auditing, accounting information systems, financial audits and internal controls, information security audits and risk assessments. He is published in several peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. Dr. Otero is also the author of a recently published university textbook in the area of information systems/technology auditing.
Through university clubs and programs, accounting and financial forensics students interact with their peers in the same field as well as other fields. Some of these clubs and programs include:
Accounting and financial forensics degree specialists work with public accounting firms, banks, corporations, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, and government entities to conduct any number of accounting and financial management duties, as well as combat fraud, bribery, money laundering and embezzlement. Employers look for candidates who have an eye for detail and accuracy, as well as a desire to investigate and maintain a grasp on the changing banking, investment, and accounting industry. Accounting and financial forensics specialists often work closely with other professionals including legal, information technology, human resources, and c-suite executives.
Florida Tech accounting and financial forensics students are especially competitive in the market for financial forensics careers. Opportunities are also available in leadership roles because of the hands-on experience that is part of the curriculum.
Careers might include such jobs as:
An accounting and financial forensics background opens doors in every industry and government entity, giving graduates an array of specializations in the accounting and financial arena. In fact, accounting and financial forensics graduates are among the top three most recruited majors in the country, with some of the highest starting salaries too.
A MSAFF degree also leads to license and certification opportunities as a CPA, CIA, CFE, CFA, CFF, CISA, and other career options like a tax or audit specialist in the corporate accounting setting.