Skills needed to be a forensic accountant

Forensic accountants are financial detectives who take the time to go through records in order to calculate assets, put together financial timelines, or to gather information to see if there is any wrongdoing or fraud present. Most of the time forensic accountants will work with law enforcement in cases were insurance, divorce, or bankruptcies are involved. While this is a rewarding career path, there are certain skills and personality traits that a forensic accountant needs to have in order to be successful. Keep reading to find out what these traits are.
• Great math skills. You must be able to crunch numbers quickly and correctly. Accountants must always analyze, compare, and look at facts and figures. While you don’t need to know extreme math such as calculus, you will need to be proficient in basic math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Those who are interested in being accountants usually love doing math and are naturally good with numbers.
• You must be analytical. As a forensic accountant, you must be very analytical. In order to come to the proper solution and conclusions, you must be able to think outside of the box. This means that you must figure out unique ways to identify different factors that may have cause or created an issue in a person’s financial records.
• You must be detail oriented. Forensic accountants must be extremely detailed oriented. By being detailed oriented you avoid the risk of errors. Accountants in general need to be extremely meticulous and must document all their findings. Again this meticulousness allows little room for error. When you are working on a case that details with fraud or insurance claims you want to make sure that everything you find adds up. You do not want to be the reason why a person lost their case.
• You must be organized. Besides being detail oriented, you must also be organized. These two traits go hand in hand. You can’t be detailed oriented but leave a mess. You can and will work in a large amount of financial and paperwork for a variety of clients. Making sure that file accordingly will again ensure little to no errors.
• Customer service skills. While you spend most of the day crunching numbers and analyzing documents, you will still need to interact with clients. Ultimately, you must do all that you can in your power to support your client in their case or cause. Always be pleasant and never rude despite how abrasive a person can be. Plus taking the time to establish a professional relationship with your client can improve your reputation and will also build trust with them as well.
• Communication skills. In order to be successful as a forensic accountant, you must be able to communicate your findings to your clients in a manner they will understand. Besides explaining your results to clients, you must also be able to document your findings in meetings with your co-workers and employers, and also in written reports as well.
Sources:
1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm#tab-4
2. http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2011.01

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