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Did you ever have dreams of being a doctor that busted the bad guys? Something like Quincy. Or maybe Robert Langdon. When you opted to go into accounting, you probably thought those dreams were hopeless.
Well, we have good news for you aspiring number-crunching crime fighters who still yearn for the “Dr.” prefix. West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics is announcing (later today, we’re told) that they will be offering the first doctoral program in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation. The program will admit its first students in August 2012 and will prepare individuals for a career in accounting research and teaching at the university level.
Shall we hear from scholarly types? Okay!
“West Virginia University’s Forensic Accounting and Fraud Investigation program has been a model for other colleges and universities across the country,” said WVU President Dr. Jim Clements. “Our expertise has made us a national leader in this field, and the addition of the Ph.D. program will provide WVU with an important opportunity to create scholars in the areas of fraud, forensics and ethics. I applaud the faculty for all they have done to make this possible.”
Dr. Clements is referring to WVU’s Graduate Certificate in FAFI and the new PhD program will simply add to the University’s scholarly fraud-busting prowess. Dr. Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean, of the school said, “This new Ph.D. program is the next logical step in building a complete educational offering in these specific areas, and that step is due to the commitment and expertise of our excellent faculty. This program is a reflection of their long and dedicated work.”
So this is a pretty exciting for the accounting sleuths (amateur or professional) out there if you’re interested in taking your wonkiness to the next level. Whether or not it has the Sam Antars of the world shaking in the boots is another question.
Are you an accounting undergrad interested in forensic accounting and cold hard cash? If you are, you might be interested in the 2011 AICPA Accounting Competition, which asks college students to flex their fraud and forensic skills in advising a fictional client on a major overseas expansion. The top three teams will strut their stuff in Washington D.C. on the AICPA’s dime, and the one that does the best job keeping the project on track — and on the right side of the law — gets a very legal $10,000. Legal if you pay taxes on the prize money, of course.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has launched its second annual case competition, challenging college students across the country to test their fraud and forensic accounting skills in a complex scenario that will earn the top performing team a $10,000 award.
The 2011 AICPA Accounting Competition, which unfolds in three stages, focuses on a fictional Texas company looking to expand its business into the Nigerian oil fields. The competition is open to undergraduate students at 2-year and 4-year degree institutions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because this contest is open to any 2 or 4 year accounting students, this would be a great opportunity for a few future fraud fighters from smaller, less prestigious accounting programs – so if any enthusiastic professors happen to see this, please pass it along.
“The competition is an opportunity for students to get a hands-on, real-life understanding of one of the fastest-growing interest areas in accounting: fraud and forensics,” said Jeannie Patton, AICPA vice president for students, academics and membership. “Those who participate will hone their teamwork and leadership skills, deepen their understanding of financial risks in international business strategy and potentially bring national attention to their college or university.”
Participants in the competition must work in teams of four students, two of whom must be accounting majors. One of the accounting majors must serve as team leader. First round submissions, which are due September 30, will be evaluated to determine a pool of 10 semifinalists. Those semifinalists will compete for three finalist spots, a chance to travel to Washington, D.C. for the final round and three cash awards: $10,000 for first place; $5,000 for second; and $2,500 for third.
Entrants will be expected to outline, in 750 words or less, double-spaced, the top three fraud risks for High Prairie Construction’s plan to expand into the Nigerian oil fields. Would this move increase the risk of fraud within the company? Are there factors within the company’s culture that leave it vulnerable to fraud? Is High Prairie exposed to risk under the FCPA and UK Bribery Act? All of these are considerations you’d make in your summary.
Next week I’ll be attending the ACFE Fraud and Conference Exhibit in San Diego where many forensic and fraud sleuths will be enjoying each other’s company and one-upping each other with stories on how many criminals they’ve busted over the years. It looks like you can still register so if my presence is the dealmaker for you, then I suggest you get on this.
John Walsh, the host of America’s Most Wanted will be giving a keynote although I’m a little confused as to what he’ll share with people that comb through ledgers for a living. Anyway, if you want to get in touch with me at the conference or while I’m in San Diego, you can email me, DM or @ me on Twitter or shoot me a message on LinkedIn or Facebook. I promise I’ll respond at some point especially if you offer to drive me to the beach or buy me an old fashioned in the Gaslamp Quarter.
And if you’re not in San Diego or attending the conference, don’t worry, I’ll be on a regular posting schedule so there will be the regular dose of inflammatory nonsense coming your way.
Afternoon, gang. As the busy season winds down, you might be thinking about your next career path. Lots of you have expressed interest in forensic accounting and fraud investigations and as luck would have it, I got introduced to Derek Royster, a partner with RGL Forensics in Charlotte, North Carolina. From his bio, Mr. Royster has been with RGL since 1997, having worked extensively with insurance companies and attorneys focusing the scope of his career on forensic accounting, the measurement of economic damages and litigation support. He has lots of letters behind his name and has provided testimony as a damage expert witness.
Mr. Royster has agreed to discuss his career and other aspects of a forensic accounting with GC but since you people are the ones with career decisions to make (whilst I just write about it) we thought it would be best to get your questions for Derek. So whatever you want to know about a career in forensics but were afraid to ask, this marks your opportunity to get the answers.
Leave your questions for Derek in comments below or (email them to us) and we’ll get the answers for you and post our discussion with him.
Welcome to the dead-seven-Irish-guys-in-a-garage edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a future Big 4 auditor wants to get into forensics ASAP but is concerned about appearances. How should he broach?