Forensic Accounting Masters Program

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  • #2982695
    Mike030882
    Participant

    Hello all,

    I hope everyone is staying healthy, and are doing well with their studies, job, family etc.

    I've seen threads on here regarding MAcc versus MST versus MBA. They've been helpful to evaluate my options.

    I am 2 more classes away from obtaining my MST from a State school in NY. I passed each section of the CPA exam and have been trying to break into the profession. I've had 2 seasonal jobs in tax. The first was a very small firm that simply wasn't budgetted for anything beyond tax season. I got a few references from it. The 2nd was short due to Covid-19 furloughs. It isn't a complaint. I'm healthy and thankful that I am. But it provides background.

    Anyway, my question is this–is it worth it to pursue the specific Forensic Accounting Masters track? Would employers see that Im pursuing it with the MST and scoff at it like the MAcct?

    My reasoning in favor of it: I enjoy tax (don't enjoy “traditional” audit as a personal preference). But I tend to agree with some others who have said a career options in tax CAN be limiting. Perhaps this second masters could give me some flexibility long-term. I imagine a good deal of the work in forensics involves pouring over tax returns.

    I'd have to keep taking classes of a sort anyway as CPEs once I get certified. So why not have a degree to show for it instead of a long list of 1-hour lectures here and there? I would be about 6-8 more classes depending on any flexibility the school might give me (I've already taken one class as a MST elective which is required for the forensic masters. This summer I plan on taking another for it since I need another MST elective). Otherwise, I would graduate with the MST this fall. I currently have. 3.8.

    However, I probably can only afford one or two classes a semester. I don't want any more loans. But, I haven't done enough to get a staff job in tax. So if I decide to pursue it, I'd want to know if it seems viable. I could probably finish it in 2022 or 2023 depending on how my schedule falls out. It's a new program there and they don't offer all of the classes each semester–this was true before the pandemic.

    Sorry for writing a book. I've been going back and forth since I saw it offered at the school.

    I'd love some feedback.

    Thanks, all.

    AUD - 90
    BEC - 79
    FAR - 77
    REG - 77
    They don't trust JUST ANYBODY to count beans
    #2982875
    monikerncmonikernc
    Participant

    I don’t think the expense of a second masters will be worth it. CFE requires experience. CFF from AICPA might be a good option. Some schools offer fraud certificates but even those are getting very pricey. Ask yourself too that if you don’t like audit why fraud? Fraud is more financial statements than tax return analysis.
    Private should offer opportunities for you as staff accountant in or out of tax.

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all the way!
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.
    #2982953
    Mike030882
    Participant

    Thanks for the quick reply @monikernc

    Without stepping on toes of others, I don't like audit bc it feels too much like consulting. Fraud, there's more of a legit reason for the work. Partners may cheat each other or don't live up to their obligation; former spouses might try to hide money. So you need someone to claw the money back. I wouldn't mind working for Fed or NYS agency either.

    Downside to CFE is that it requires experience. That's the very bridge I'm trying to cross.

    I passed the CPA exams before matriculating in the MST program. I didn't get any jobs in Accounting until the latter happened. My undergrad is print journalism. So I thought another masters may help.

    You're also right about cost. The price tag of $1500-1600 per class is no joke. It's why I pursued the CPA exam first (after taking whatever prereqs I needed, non-matriculated to sit).

    How much is the exam prep for CFE? I don't imagine the exam is cheaper than the CPA exam.

    I dont really have to decide until the Fall.

    AUD - 90
    BEC - 79
    FAR - 77
    REG - 77
    They don't trust JUST ANYBODY to count beans
    #2983112
    monikerncmonikernc
    Participant

    Look at AICPAs CFF – cheaper and easier
    My hurdle was experience for many years but industry experience counts too. I did several seasons for small firms then a year for a hotel group and now do tax work and tax research for a law firm. I finally got licensed when a CPA colleague agreed to attest to my latest year of experience. Try banks or governments – I worked for a county and did business audits for awhile. I worked in unemployment insurance and they always need fraud people. Get some analytics training – a certificate in that may help more but some of the fraud certificate programs offer technical courses too. See if your school has a program. Even a community college may offer skills in data analysis. Python, Tableau and R are strong skills with SQL.

    Check this out: https://www.udemy.com/topic/fraud-analytics/

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all the way!
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.
    #2983118
    Mike030882
    Participant

    I love Udemy! I took a few tax prep courses this tax season.

    Great points. A tech certificate may be a better way to go. I started as a college freshman with computer science. It was too hard. Haha. Calc 2 and Discreet math 2 back-to-back killed me sophomore year.

    Tax work and research assignments sound great. Good way to merge my undergraduate work with my masters.

    Thanks for the tips!

    AUD - 90
    BEC - 79
    FAR - 77
    REG - 77
    They don't trust JUST ANYBODY to count beans
    #2983349
    monikerncmonikernc
    Participant

    I am going to dig into those Udemy classes after I finish this tax season. What state are you in? I started in NC, moved to Colorado, licensed in Montana and applying for reciprocity in CO. I should hear from CO in June.
    One more thing. Coursera offers a free fraud accounting class from UWV – I took it and it was basic info but very good. Free!

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all the way!
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.
    #2983613
    Mike030882
    Participant

    I live in Queens, NY.

    I found one by 365 Careers. https://www.udemy.com/share/101W9cAkEacVtTQHQ=/

    That one had a lot of good reviews but its $120. Maybe it'll go on sale. Sometimes they have flash sales.

    I'll look for the one you mentioned.

    AUD - 90
    BEC - 79
    FAR - 77
    REG - 77
    They don't trust JUST ANYBODY to count beans
    #2983931
    monikerncmonikernc
    Participant

    That course looks good. Don’t worry about the math just work through it.

    I can’t post a link to it but search for NYC Dept of Investigation Investigative Auditor jobs and see if that is what you are looking for.

    AUD - 93
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 76
    REG - 88
    How have you been?
    Ninja book and MCQs and the forum, all the way!
    Licensed State of Montana April Fool’s Day 2020
    AICPA Ethics 93
    Experience was the worst part of the journey for me. You?
    If you want things to change you have to do something different.
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