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SNHU graduate, Kerry Smith, in an office space. With the text Kerry Smith '12

Forensic Accounting Degree Online BS in Accounting Concentration

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Register By: October 23 Classes Start: October 25

Earn a Forensic Accounting Degree

  • $320/credit (120 total credits)
  • Transfer up to 90 credits
  • Program accredited by ACBSP
  • 24/7 online access to the classroom
  • Learn how to investigate fraud
  • Prepare for fraud examiner certification

Online Forensic Accounting Degree Concentration Overview

Focus your accounting education on the investigation of financial records to detect fraud with the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Accounting with a concentration in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination degree.

With a forensic accounting degree online, you can build a strong foundation of traditional accounting knowledge. You’ll explore the auditing process in depth. And you'll gain key investigative skills to identify, document and prevent fraud and cyber crime.

You can finish your degree armed with the critical thinking skills and essential business knowledge you need to begin a rewarding career in the forensic accounting field.

Learn how to:

  • Analyze and apply accounting rules and regulations
  • Generate financial records and prepare tax returns
  • Effectively communicate accounting information
  • Audit financial information and controls
  • Apply ethics to conduct and decision-making

Career Outlook

With a forensic accounting degree online, you can work at the intersection of law and finance.

Sean Ball with the test Sean Ball"Working in this field, I have  found that many local, state and federal government agencies – as well as private sector companies – consider people with my background critical," said Sean Ball '14 '17G '19MBA. "I was confident I could perform the work required for the position I was seeking."

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), fraud and financial crimes cause billions of dollars in losses for companies worldwide every year. In 2020, 47% of companies surveyed by PwC had experienced consumer fraud, cyber crime, asset misappropriation and other corruption within the last 2 years.1

As financial crime has grown, much of the responsibility for detecting fraud has been assumed by the accounting profession.

Forensic accountants investigate fraud in complicated financial transactions. These include mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies and contract disputes. Forensic accountants are also key players in catching white collar criminals and bringing them to justice.

With an online forensic accounting degree, you can work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Accounting firms
  • Insurance companies
  • Law offices
  • Governmental agencies

"Without my degree, I would have worked much harder climbing to an accountant position from where I started as an accounts payable clerk," said April Cutler '18. "With my degree, I was able to accept a staff accountant 2 position with the company I am currently employed at, that wouldn’t have been an option without a degree in accounting."

Earning an online accounting degree with a forensic accounting concentration can give you the specialized skills you need to stand out in this growing field.

HowToBecomeAnAccountantMonaStephensBody“The accountant role is changing. Accountants need to be more than just technically proficient in accounting,” said Mona Stephens, accounting faculty lead at SNHU. “The accountant of the future needs to be intellectually curious, always learning, able to figure out how to solve problems, analyze and visualize data, and effectively communicate with non-accountants.”

With a forensic accounting and fraud examination degree, you could work in a variety of accounting careers, including:

  • Public accountant: Perform a range of accounting, auditing, tax and consulting tasks for corporations, government agencies and individuals.
  • Management accountant: Record and analyze the financial information of an organization, for use by business managers and company leaders.
  • Internal auditor: Check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds and identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud.
  • External auditor: Review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.
  • Financial examiner: Ensure compliance with laws governing financial institutions and transactions, including reviewing balance sheets, evaluating the risk level of loans and assessing bank management.

Job growth and earning potential vary depending on the career you pursue with your online forensic accounting degree.

For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for accountants will grow 6% through 2028.2 In 2019, accountants earned a median salary of $71,500.2 Jobs for financial examiners are projected to grow 7% through 2028, and earned a median salary of $81,090 in 2019.2

Your career and earning potential will also be impacted by your training. Most accounting jobs require a bachelor’s degree. But some will require a master's degree or professional credentials.

An undergraduate forensic accounting degree is the first step toward earning key accounting certifications.

Want to put your forensic accounting degree to work as a fraud examiner? Becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) can help you stand out to employers. The CFE credential denotes proven expertise in fraud prevention, detection and deterrence. CFEs are credentialed by the national Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and must pass a certification exam.3

Some forensic accounting positions may also require you to be a Certified Public Accountant. CPAs are licensed by their state accounting board. While state requirements vary, CPAs must have completed 150 hours of college coursework and pass a certification exam.3

The content of our programs aligns with the Content and Skill Specification Outlines (CSOs/SSOs) set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Learners who are interested in licensure may also pursue an MS in Accounting degree to help them meet educational requirements. Completion of the BS in Accounting degree alone does not adequately prepare learners to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam or to become licensed certified public accountants.

Licensing requirements to sit for the CPA exam vary from state to state. Students are encouraged to review their state specific requirements. State-by-state educational requirements can be found on the website of the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), while state-by-state CPA licensing requirements can be found through the Accounting Licensing Library, powered by the NASBA.

Start Your Journey Towards an Online Forensic Accounting Concentration Degree

Courses & Curriculum

SNHU’s forensic accounting degree online can give you a strong foundation in accounting and financial analysis. Forensic accounting courses focused on fraud detection and investigation can supplement your core accounting classes.

The online forensic accounting degree also includes a strong foundation in general business courses. Business core courses include:

  • Business law
  • Finance
  • Business systems analysis and design
  • Marketing
  • Human relations
  • Strategic management

These courses ensure you understand and can incorporate key business concepts into accounting and auditing roles.

"What originally attracted me to the forensic accounting program was the fact that it offers a combination of elements from accounting, law and criminal justice," said Sean Ball '14 '17G '19MBA. "This program takes the concepts of accounting and shows you how to apply them in both law and criminal justice matters. This is also what separates the forensic accounting program from other programs, as at the end of the day you have a hybrid major of elements from accounting, law and criminal justice. This is a combination that is not offered in other programs."

You can also build valuable career skills with general education courses, including writing, analysis and quantitative reasoning skills.

In your primary accounting courses, you’ll explore a variety of topics, including:

  • General accounting principles
  • Financial statement analysis
  • Auditing
  • Taxation
  • Business law

Your forensic accounting courses dive deeper into the investigation, detection and prevention of fraud.

You’ll focus on the prevention of accounting frauds, stock frauds and employee theft and embezzlement. You’ll learn how to investigate and recognize fraud within an organization and how to implement the latest techniques for controlling it.

You can also learn how to review, detect and investigate possible financial statement fraud and assess the risks of this type of fraud.

One of your online forensic accounting courses will also cover interview principles and techniques that are key to fraud investigations. In this course, you’ll be exposed to some of the legal aspects related to the identification and prosecution of fraud.

You can also learn about the importance of technology in the detection and prevention of modern financial crime. You’ll learn more about computer crime and how to work with digital evidence. You can explore identity theft, locating digital evidence, working with data and presenting investigative findings. Case studies of cyber crime examples can help you apply your learning to real-world situations.

Want even more hands-on learning opportunities? SNHU’s career advising team can also help you set up an accounting internship to supplement your learning. An internship is not required to earn a forensic accounting degree online. But real-world experience can help you develop key soft skills and ultimately find success in your field.

These skills include:

  • Communication: Effectively share financial information with internal and external audiences.
  • Analysis: Gather and review financial data to identify fraud and examine financial risk.
  • Problem-solving: Connect classroom learning and hands-on experience to solve real-world problems.
  • Decision-making: Apply professional ethics to make decisions in the field of accounting.

As an online student, you can also benefit from a variety of learning opportunities. You’ll have access to virtual tutoring and writing services. You can even join online clubs and student organizations to supplement your learning and grow your personal network.

April Cutler with the text April Cutler"The support that SNHU offered me allowed me to fulfill my dream of graduating with high honors," said April Cutler '18, who also served as a graduation speaker during her graduation ceremony. "I did just that, graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0. This opened an invitation to be a student speaker. Standing before my kids on Mother’s Day, not only finally getting my degree, but representing my class, was the proudest moment I have ever experienced."

You'll also have access to a full range of career services. Career services include networking opportunities, resume and cover letter review, mock interviews and more. These services are even available after you graduate.

SNHU’s generous transfer policy can also help you save time and money when earning your degree. You can transfer up to 90 credits toward a bachelor’s degree program. With the maximum transfer credit load, you could earn your degree in as few as 5 terms, or 10 courses.

Curriculum Requirements & Resources

  • Business core: Business programs require learners to complete the business core program, which includes a variety of business-specific courses. This program focuses on 10 core competencies to prepare you for success wherever you go.
  • General education courses: All online bachelor's degree students are required to take general education classes, if not obtained in prior coursework. Through these foundation, exploration and integration courses, students learn to think critically, creatively and collaboratively, giving you the edge employers are looking for.
  • Technology resources: We provide cloud-based virtual environments in some courses to give you access to the technology you need for your degree – and your career. Learn more about our virtual environments.
  • Earn math credits for what you already know: Save time and tuition with our Pathways to Math Success assessments. Depending on your scores, you could earn up to 12 math credits – the equivalent of 4 courses – toward your degree for less than $50 per assessment.

Tuition & Fees

As a private, nonprofit university, we’re committed to making college more accessible by making it more affordable. That’s why we offer some of the lowest online tuition rates in the nation—and haven't raised our costs in a decade.

We also offer financial aid packages to those who qualify, plus a 30% tuition discount for U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty.

Online Undergraduate Programs Per Course Per Credit Hour Annual Cost for 30 credits 
Degree/Certificates $960 $320 $9,600
Degree/Certificates (U.S. service members, both full and part time, and the spouses of those on active duty)* $675 $225 $6,750

Tuition Rates are subject to change and are reviewed annually. *Note: students receiving this rate are not eligible for additional discounts.

Additional Costs No Application Fee, $150 Graduation Fee, Course Materials ($ varies by course)

Frequently Asked Questions

University Accreditation

Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) as well as several other accrediting bodies.

References