How Much Does a Forensic Accountant Make?

Accountants must be pretty pleased with their position: Despite the rise of high-tech services that have decimated other industries, their profession has largely been helped by such developments. The result is continued strong growth in accounting as a broad profession, with faster-than-average job growth overall and rather healthy growth in annual salaries. Forensic accountants have seen their own industry grow even faster, and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics currently estimates that the forensic side of the profession will continue growing at a 27 percent annual pace through the end of the current decade.

As most students of a business-related field know, stronger demand for qualified candidates often leads to better annual salaries for each person who is hired within the industry. That’s certainly true of forensic accounting. Over the past few years, those who work in this specialized field have actually seen their salaries grow faster than more traditional accountants. They’ve even seen their own salaries eclipse those earned by CPAs, tax professionals, and others in more conventional trades.

A High Earning Potential for Those in Forensic Accountancy Services

Forensic accounting has become central to the functioning of American business since roughly the turn of the century, when financial scandals brought down companies like WorldCom and Enron. In the more than decade that has elapsed since those incidents, the Securities and Exchange Commission has stepped up its forensic efforts and most private businesses have hired whole teams of forensic accountants who keep them honest and ensure the books comply with federal law.

That’s why, on average, today’s forensic accountants can expect to earn an average annual salary of about $74,500 per year. It should be noted, of course, that this salary is only the mid-range. The top 10 percent of forensic accountants currently earn at least a six-figure annual salary. Most of those professionals are in high-ranking positions with the SEC or in managerial positions within corporate financial departments.

Because the profession is growing at a breakneck pace that is expected to continue until at least 2020, salary growth within forensic accounting is expected to remain quite strong. By the end of the decade, some analysts estimate the median wage could easily be in the range of about $80,000 to $85,000 per year.

Faster Salary Growth than Other Accounting Professions

Those considering forensic accounting should be aware that there are often special examinations and certifications required of even existing accountants before they can engage in this fast-growing profession. With that said, those exams are probably worth taking. While forensic accountants currently have an annual salary approaching $74,500 on average, traditional CPAs have seen their salaries remain around $61,000 for at least the past half-decade.

That means that virtually any existing accountant can give themselves a pay raise simply by pursing the exams and certifications needed to enter into a forensic occupation. By learning the skills necessary to investigate corporate bookkeeping practices and compliance with regulatory measures, accountants can further ensure their continued success in the profession at large.

A Great Way to Earn a Healthy Yearly Wage

With its fast-paced growth and better salary averages than other accounting industry trades, forensic accounting is poised to become the field of choice for entry-level jobseekers. Even those already in the profession can benefit from making the switch to forensic services, which might be a good idea as companies continue to merge, consolidate books, and engage in increasingly risky financial practices.

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