AICPA educates CPA firms, professors on forensic accounting
by AccountingWEB on
As forensic accounting gains a higher profile, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is working to expand the profession’s role in the field by educating CPA firms and college professors about the skills required.
The Institute published a report, Characteristics and Skills of the Forensic Accountant, which analyzes the results of a survey of attorneys, forensic CPAs, and academics. The AICPA sought their views on the qualities they believed were essential in a forensic accountant. The report notes that in the wake of the economic crisis that began in 2007, forensic accounting has grown as a discipline for CPAs. The Institute estimates that 20,000 to 30,000 CPAs now provide forensic accounting services.
“The CPA is the ideal professional to conduct forensic accounting,” said Robert Harris, CPA, chairman of the AICPA and a holder of the institute’s specialty credential, Certified in Financial Forensics. “The CPA profession’s essential values include integrity and objectivity, which are critical for forensic accounting.”
All three groups surveyed overwhelmingly cited analytical ability as the most essential characteristic of a forensic accountant: 78 percent of attorneys, 86 percent of CPAs, and 90 percent of academics.
There were differences, however, in how the three segments ranked core skills. Attorneys believed oral communications to be the most important skill, reflecting the need to express an opinion effectively in a court of law. CPAs, on the other hand, identified critical and strategic thinking as most important, with written and oral communications as second and third, respectively. The academics agreed with the CPAs that critical and strategic thinking was the prime skill, but, interestingly, rated auditing skills and investigative ability as second and third.
“We reached out to the three critical constituencies in forensic accounting to confirm we’re meeting the marketplace’s wants and needs,” said Michael Ueltzen, a forensic CPA who chairs the AICPA Certified in Financial Forensics Committee. “We want to encourage more CPAs to enter forensic accounting.”
Forensic accounting encompasses collecting, analyzing, and evaluating evidence and then interpreting and communicating the findings in court, the boardroom, or other legal and administrative venue. Attorneys tend to be the primary clients of forensic accountants.
The AICPA is seeking to draw younger people into the field, as well, Ueltzen said. As a result, one key objective for the report is to guide academics on what a forensic accounting curriculum needs to encompass.
“Students see opportunities in forensic accounting, so we’re developing a program for the forensic accountant of the future,” Ueltzen said. “About 50 colleges offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in forensic accounting or a certification in the discipline. That’s five times what the number was only five years ago,”
You may like these other stories...
The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has relaunched its technical agenda web page, which Chairman Russell Golden said will inform visitors at a glance on where any given FASB project stands, the steps it took to...
Tax accounting to be simplified for money-market fundsThe US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-2 on Wednesday for sweeping changes to institutional money-market funds, Emily Chasan, senior editor of...
Read more from Larry Perry here and in the Today's World of Audits archive.AU-C Section 800, Special Considerations—Audits of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance With Special Purpose Frameworks, paragraph ....
Upcoming CPE Webinars
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
FRF for SMEs Series--Measurement and Disclosure Principles for various Consolidations and Business Combinations, Part 4B
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.
In this session we'll review best practices for how to generate interest in your firm’s services.