When I first told my family and friends that I was going to study forensic accounting, many of them had never heard of it. I believe I was even asked, “That’s accounting for dead people, right?” I simply laughed, but I never realized that many people actually don’t know what it is.

Many students live under the perception everyone knows what they know. However, in reality this is hardly true. So, what exactly is forensic accounting? I actually didn’t know much about the field until I researched the topic a little more. It’s become more prevalent in the last decade with financial scandals at Enron, WorldCom, HealthSouth, and with Bernie Madoff just to name a few.

Forensic Accounting is work done in anticipation of litigation and can include fraud, valuation, and bankruptcy. It has often been associated with fraud examination, which involves investigating or finding red flags that suggest fraud may be occurring.  This includes obtaining evidence, writing reports, testifying to findings, and detecting fraud.

Canisius’s forensic accounting program focuses on fraud examination. The classes they offer include Fraud Examination. Financial Statement Fraud, Computer Forensics, White Collar Crime, and the Regulation Environment of Forensic Accounting. These classes present fraud in a unique way. For example, in my fraud examination class we were given financial data and observations to a company and asked to detect the fraudulent schemes.

I highly recommend anyone who has a slight interest in solving puzzles and detecting fraud to take these classes. Once you take these classes, you’ll realize that forensic accounting isn’t really accounting for dead people. In fact, forensic accounting is like solving a huge puzzle.