MS in Accounting - Forensic Accounting

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Fight Fraud: Focus Your Master’s in
Forensic Accounting

Enhance your accounting career by gaining the skills to investigate fraud with SNHU's online forensic accounting degree program. With this 36-credit-minimum master's in forensic accounting, you will learn how forensic accounting principles can be applied in complex financial transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, and contract disputes; discover how forensic accounting findings are used in court cases to prosecute white-collar criminals; and earn the credit hours needed in most states to take the CPA exam.

In addition to advanced accounting principles, MS in Accounting-Forensic Accounting Concentration courses focus on the investigation of financial records to detect fraud, theft, and malfeasance.

Earn your forensic accounting degree online or at one of SNHU’s regional centers. This 36-credit-minimum program is ideal for students with an undergraduate degree in business or accounting and two years of experience in the accounting field.

Gain Knowledge and Skills to Investigate and Defend Against Fraud

Students in the forensic accounting master's degree program graduate with an understanding of:
  • The characteristics of fraud, fraud prevention and detection, investigative techniques, and
    asset recovery.
  • How forensic accounting and fraud examination are applied in civil and criminal cases.
  • How to review, detect and investigate possible financial statement fraud.
  • How to use the latest technology to help detect and investigate white-collar crimes.

Prepare for a Successful Accounting Career

Financial crises, legislation requiring greater transparency in financial reporting and other industry changes mean forensic accounting career opportunities continue to grow, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS reports that employment for accountants and auditors is projected to grow 16 percent between 2010 and 2020.

The BLS further reports, "Accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition through certification or other designation, especially a CPA, should have the best job prospects. Applicants with a master's degree in accounting or a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting also may have an advantage."

Forensic Accounting Degree Curriculum

Students who have not earned a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related business major may be required to take additional courses to meet degree requirements. Prerequisites may be required for some courses.

Forensic Accounting Concentration

ACC-646: Introduction to Forensic Accounting/ Fraud Exam
This course will develop the student's understanding of what forensic accounting and fraud examination is and how it pertains to both civil and criminal matters. The student will gain a basic understanding of the characteristics of fraud, fraud prevention and detection, investigative techniques, asset recovery, and the use of information technology in this interesting and growing profession.
ACC-620 and ACC-640; or UG Accounting degree; or 2
ACC-691: Detection/Prevention of Fraudulent Financial Statements
This second course in forensic accounting and fraud examination examines the various types of fraud and its impact on the financial information presented. The objective of this course is to identify common fraud schemes and scams. Participants in this course will learn how to review, detect, and investigate possible financial statement fraud by addressing such topics as income smoothing, off balance sheet financing, fictitious sales/revenue, and understatement of liabilities, just to name a few. Various techniques will be used to explore substantive analytical procedures to assess the risks of financial statement fraud.
ACC-692: Interview Techniques/Legal Aspects of Fraud
This third course in forensic accounting and fraud examination will acquaint the participant with interview principles and techniques. Additionally, the participant will be exposed to some of the legal aspects pertaining to the identification and prosecution of fraud.
ACC-693: Investigating with Computers
This fourth course in the Graduate Certificate will provide guidance and knowledge for conducting investigations via machine. The skills of the participant in this course will be strengthened in such areas as identification of the types of public records available to investigate; how to access the public records through databases; navigation of the Internet to find useful material; the use of fraud-related software packages to detect and investigate possible fraudulent activities; and the use of data analysis programs and spreadsheets to detect fraud.
ACC-646, ACC-691 and ACC-692

MS in Accounting - Forensic Accounting Concentration Courses

Required Courses

ACC-550: Cost Accounting
This course provides a comprehensive study of the concepts, procedures, and practices of accounting systems that record, classify, and report cost data. These systems are designed to aid in the cost-effective operation of for-profit and non- profit organizations. This course focuses on cost behaviors, alternative cost systems, and accounting tools for planning and control. Additional topics studied would include relevant cost analysis for management decisions, cost/ revenue allocation methods, inventory management, and transfer pricing.
ACC-610: Financial Reporting I
This course examines financial accounting theories and practices and emphasizes asset and liability, measurement and reporting.
ACC-620: Financial Reporting II
This course is a continuation of ACC 610. Topics include stockholders' equity, income measurement, income taxes, pensions, leases and statements of changes in financial positions.
ACC-630: Financial Reporting III
This course examines such advanced accounting topics as partnerships, consolidations, insolvencies, estates and trusts.
ACC-640: Auditing
This course is a study of the concepts and methods of professional auditing.
ACC-690: Advanced Topics in Financial Reporting
This course is an examination of advanced topics in accounting, including SEC reporting, corporations in financial difficulty, multinational accounting and additional consolidation reporting issues not covered in Financial Reporting II.
ACC-700: Accounting Capstone
As the final step in students' journeys toward their Master of Science degrees in Accounting, this capstone course will integrate previous coursework and practical experience with a focus on authentic demonstration of competencies outlined by the program. Rather than introducing new concepts, students will synthesize and integrate prior learning to design or develop a capstone as a culmination of their studies. The course will be structured to support student success in fulfilling program requirements and developing a well-thought-out, comprehensive capstone project. Prerequisite: Completion of 30 credits in the program.
ACC-630 or ACC-640
FIN-500: Financial Management
This course is a study of financial decision- making in a firm, including its relationship to financial markets and institutions. Background preparation: 6 credit hours in economics.
ACC-500, ACC-510 or ACC-550 and MBA-502
INT-600: Multinational Corporate Management
This course is an introduction to the nature of international operations and issues of management for multinational activities, with particular emphasis on the cultural, political, economic and physical dimensions of foreign nations.
MBA-610: Business Law
This course focuses on the theory and application of business regulations and the laws of contracts, agency, property and business organizations. Background preparation: 3 credit hours in business law or the equivalent.
QSO-510: Quantitative Analysis for Decision Making
This is a survey of the mathematical, probabilistic and statistical tools available for assisting in the operation and management of industrial organizations. Background preparation: 6 credit hours in mathematics and 3 credit hours in statistics, or the equivalent.
TAX-650: Federal Taxation of Individuals
This course studies the theory and practice of federal income taxation of individuals.
TAX-655: Federal Income Tax of Corporations & Partnerships
This course studies the theories and practices of income taxation of corporations and partnerships and excise tax on estates and gifts.

MBA 610 Business Law - if exempt, no replacement, as long as total number of credits is obtained
ACC 550 Cost Accounting - if waived, no replacement, as long as total number of credits is obtained
ACC 610 Financial Reporting I - if waived, no replacement, as long as total number of credits is obtained
ACC 640 Auditing - if waived, no replacement, as long as total number of credits is obtained
TAX 650 Federal Taxation of Individuals - if exempt, no replacement, as long as total number of credits is obtained

Foundation Courses

For those who do not meet the minimum requirements, the following courses may be required:

MBA-501: Mathematics and Statistics for Business
This is an applied course, which will provide students with the mathematical knowledge and skills that underlie many courses offered in the school of business. Students will learn the fundamental concepts and methods of linear algebra, mathematical functions, differential calculus and statistics and their applications to business. They will also sharpen their quantitative, analytical and problem-solving skills that are so important for success in the world of business today.
MBA-502: Economics for Business
This course is intended to provide the student with a concisely focused yet rigorous introduction to both micro- and macroeconomic theory needed at the foundational level of a graduate degree program. Some of the topics to be addressed include: market behavior; demand theory and related elasticity concepts; production and cost theory; managerial decision-making in perfectly competitive and imperfectly competitive markets; GDP determination; unemployment and inflation; and fiscal and monetary policy.
MBA-503: Financial Reporting and Analysis
This course is designed to help future business leaders across all functional areas appreciate and understand the rules and regulations, processes and procedures, and significance of financial accounting statements and reports. It provides a balanced presentation between how statements are prepared and, more importantly, how to analyze these statements and footnotes to assess a company's performance within the industry and management's performance within a particular company. New government regulations have made the integrity and quality of financial accounting information everyone's responsibility. This course will help future business leaders conduct better internal audits, improve forecasts and valuations, and make better management decisions.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year for our five graduate terms. You can apply at any time and get a decision within days of submitting all required materials. To apply, simply contact an admission counselor, who can help you explore financial options.  Your counselor can also walk you through the application process, which involves completing a graduate application ($40 fee) and providing undergraduate transcripts.

Candidates are also required to submit a resume.

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