I am interested in the accounting field. Forensic Accounting and Real Estate Accounting are the two specialty areas that interest me the most. I am looking for insight into both to see which one fits my personality more.
I can’t imagine two specialty area in Accounting that are as different as Real Estate and Forensic Accounting. Real Estate Accounting is the more traditional area of Accounting whereas, as the name suggests, Forensic Accounting is a specialty area involved in detecting and uncovering fraud. Both specialties require a degree in Accounting and several years of experience in the field. There is of course some crossover between these two areas of Accounting: there’s been a lot of Real Estate fraud throughout history .
Obviously, both of these specialties require a degree in Accounting and several years experience . The traditional route, particularly for Forensic Accounting, is to first work as an auditor and obtain a CPA certification before transitioning to a corporate role. For Real Estate Accounting you probably can start in an entry level position after obtaining your Accounting degree or while pursuing your degree in the evening.
I suggest first finding an entry level position in general Accounting at a company while pursuing your degree on a part-time basis. It would be helpful to first be enrolled in courses before finding a position . Also, I’d recommend reading about the two most recent frauds in our financial history : Madoff and Theranos. Both of these frauds are fascinating to read and both should have been detected a lot sooner had interested parties exercised some degree of due diligence . Note in both of these cases neither fraud was uncovered by outside auditors or regulators.
My last observation: I think a hard-charging Marine would be better suited to the fraud prevention and detection field.
Eugene - accounting is a great field, applicable to nearly every industry. Forensic accounting is a more specialized niche utilizing audit and investigation mindset to review financial transactions and tell a story. It's all about "following the money" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShWe-4mtV8w
The forensic accounting role may require 2-5 years experience in general accounting and/or auditing. The CPA is not always required, but never hurts. Take a look at the resources availble from ACFE (https://www.acfe.com/). The CFE certification is a great place to start.
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