Should I study forensic accounting?
Dear Career Advisor:
I came across one of your columns and I believe you provide well-needed assistance to those who have concerns regarding career choices. I am also in need of your assistance. I am a third year student at one of our local universities pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. My major is accounting, with a minor in international business. A friend encouraged me to start thinking about what type of accountant I would like to become. Upon doing research, I became very fascinated with forensic accounting. I would also like to go further in becoming a certified fraud examiner. I am not sure if this is really a good option especially in Jamaica. However, I have no problem working overseas. I would really like your opinion on this career option. Looking forward to your response.
Thank you for your affirmation. Commendations to you on your advancement in your programme of study. Your friend’s recommendation that you consider potential career pathways was spot-on. All tertiary level students should take that approach. Your degree combination of international business with accounting will form an excellent launching pad for your desired career in forensic accounting.
It is a relatively new specialisation but one which has been internationally ranked among the top 20 trending careers. Success in the field will be enhanced by a strong business background, excellent understanding of the operations of business, and a keen appreciation for legal processes.
You might not necessarily see many local vacancy advertisements for positions as forensic accountants. However, there are many areas of service for which the knowledge, competencies and skills derived from the training can be applied and are in demand. These include, but are not limited to:
• accounting firms
• law firms
• the justice system
• insurance companies and insurance assessors
• the police force
• government ministries and agencies
• private investigating companies
• independent investigating and consultancy.
Opportunities for certified fraud examiners, though also a relatively new field in Jamaica, are increasing.
You are embarking on a potentially exciting and gratifying career. Aim for excellence in your programme of study and subsequent preparation. The outcomes should be very rewarding.
All the best.
Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.