Forensic Accounting Education: A Survey of Academicians and Practitioners
Advances in Accounting Education, Forthcoming
45 Pages Posted: 5 May 2004
We have recently witnessed significant emphasis on improving investor confidence and public trust in financial reports. Reported financial scandals (e.g., Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Qwest, Parmalat) have eroded investor confidence and made forensic accounting an attractive career opportunity for accountants to combat fraud. Forensic accounting is defined in this study as the practice of rigorous data collection and analysis in the areas of litigation support consulting, expert witnessing, and fraud examination. At present, there appears to be a gap between forensic accounting practices and education in the sense that forensic accounting is viewed as one of the most secure career tracks, yet there are only a limited number of accounting programs offering forensic accounting courses. There is little background data available, and rarely any evidence post-Enron, Andersen, and other financial scandals, with respect to the integration of forensic accounting education into the accounting curricula and particularly whether academicians' actions are consistent with the needs of practitioners for well-trained and knowledgeable forensic accountants.
This study gathers opinions of both academicians and practitioners regarding the importance, relevance, and delivery of forensic accounting education. Results indicate that the demand for and interest in forensic accounting is expected to continue to increase; more universities are planning to provide forensic accounting education; both groups of respondents viewed forensic accounting education as being relevant and beneficial to accounting students, the business community, the accounting profession, and accounting programs; and the majority of 49 suggested forensic accounting topics are considered as important for integration into the accounting curriculum by both groups of surveyed academicians and practitioners. Results also indicate that some significant differences exist regarding topical coverage of forensic accounting between academicians and practitioners. These results are useful to universities and colleges that are considering integrating forensic accounting education into their curriculum or redesigning their forensic accounting courses.
Keywords: Forensic accounting, Accounting curriculum, Anti-fraud education, Financial scandals
JEL Classification: A20, K22, M41, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation