Ever considered pursuing a career in forensics? Do you enjoy solving mathematical problems? If you’ve answered yes to the questions above, a career in forensic accounting just may be the right career choice for you! Forensic Accountants, also known as forensic auditors, help police and government accounting departments investigate a variety of claims to help gather evidence for trial. Whether in a proactive role helping agencies design audit procedures and participate in audit committees, or assist in the pre-trial litigation period gathering evidence and conducting research, forensic accountants are vital in helping the court determine anomalies and fraud. Below is a list of the top 15 forensic accounting professors who have not only become experts in the field of financial forensics, but continue to advance the field with their inspiring work.
Evans is a new professor at this Washington D.C. school after gaining extensive experience working on the Bernie Madoff case. In fact, she spent six months at the Madoff office in New York looking for evidence of financial crimes, according to the school website. Students at AU may also gain from her past experience as an auditor for two different firms and her expertise in providing litigation support and acting as an expert witness. She is an AU graduate herself. As an executive-in-residence at AU, she teaches, among other courses, accounting ethics, advanced financial reporting and forensic accounting.
Epps has long-time experience in forensic accounting and litigation support - more than 30 years according to his curriculum vitae. He has testified on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants, served as an appraiser in insurance claims disputes, conducted presentations for professional organizations and insurance companies, and currently runs his own CPA consulting firm. Epps teaches the forensic accounting course at ASU and has students work with area attorneys on litigation case studies representing either the plaintiff or defendant side.
Schulzke, an associate professor at this Georgia school, teaches classes in forensic accounting and is quick to point out that some of the largest fraud cases begin with misconduct occurring in the “head office”. Students may benefit from his work as an attorney and his work on IRS and SEC whistleblower cases. Other past experience includes employment as a CFO, controller, corporate trainer for large organizations (like Turner Broadcasting) and general counsel.
Dr. Crumbley teaches a number of courses at this Baton Rouge school, but his true interests reside in corporate and individual taxation, forensic accounting and oil and gas accounting, according to the school’s website. Classes taught include fraud auditing and income tax accounting. His personal website indicates he’s been published in many different journals and magazines, been editor of “The Journal of Forensic Accounting: Auditing, Fraud, & Risk,” traveled extensively to study taxation and accounting, and written 13 books, including “The Ultimate Rip-Off: A Taxing Tale.”
Dr. Waldrup’s extensive background in forensic accounting and fraud investigation made him a top choice for new chair of this Maryland school’s department of accounting. Previously employed at the University of North Florida, he taught coursework in auditing theory, and managerial, cost, and forensic accounting. His travels took him to teaching experiences in places like Beijing, Florence and Rome. He has published an extensive number of papers, more than 30, and is a member of the ACFE as well as the American Accounting Association, and the Accounting Historians Society.
Tabak, a professor of accounting and management, has expertise in areas such as accountings ethics, forensic accounting, not-for-profit leadership and litigation. Since 1990, she has provided accounting and economic litigation support to EconoTech, and has even spoken at the AAA’s Forensic and Investigative Accounting Section Midyear Meeting on the role of the forensic accountant in calculating litigation losses.
Jones specializes in forensic accounting as well as accounting fraud, auditing, financial reporting and other areas. He’s released several publications about accounting and has an extensive background in the private sector. He is interested in research in areas such as audit committees and auditing, financial reporting, and fraud. He gained long-term accounting experience as a partner with Coopers & Lybrand, which later merged with Pricewaterhouse to form PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Dr. Pavelka’s areas of accounting interest include accounting regulation and theory, business fraud, bank audit and compliance among others. She has been honored as a distinguished lecturer at this Chicago school and in a YouTube interview describes accounting fraud as growing across the U.S. and worldwide, a trend that costs companies significant amounts of money. The American Society for Continuing Education also noted that she has contributed questions for the Certified Internal Auditor Exam.
In addition to teaching financial accounting and financial statement analysis in the EMBA program at this New Jersey school, Dr. Govindaraj has gained experience teaching at other schools including Colombia University, New York University and Northwestern University. As well, he reviews a number of academic journals, does speaking engagements, submits business articles for publication and has been a two-time winner of the school’s Paul Nadler award for excellence in teaching.
Kresse is an associate professor at this Chicago School, and also director of the school’s Center for the Study of Fraud and Corruption. He’s appeared locally in Chicago on TV news talking about holiday fraud scams, safe use of credit cards, and making purchases online. “Fraud never sleeps” may very well be a catch-phrase of his. He has also been named Educator of the Year by the ACFE, as indicated by this YouTube video.
Nellen teaches a variety of coursework at SJSU including in e-commerce, property transactions and tax research, and is also director of the Master’s of Science in Tax. She is author of a book called “Tax Aspects of Business Transactions - A First Course,” and, in addition to doing speaking engagements about tax issues and policy, stays active in professional organizations. She keeps track of news and commentary about tax system weaknesses, needed tax reform, and ideas for change in her blog, “21st Century Taxation.“
Dr. Kulzick has taught a wide variety of classes at this Florida school in subjects such as accounting, business and public administration. He has also been dean of the business school, coordinator of three different graduate level programs (including the school’s MBA program) and has served on an extensive number of university committees. His certificates are likewise diverse and include Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, Forensic Certified Public Accountant and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.
As the Forensic Accountant Distinguished Professor at North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. Bushman is an award-winning teacher leading classes in corporate governance, deal structuring, and financial accounting. He has also worked with executives outside of the classroom through companies like Andersen Consulting and GlaxoSmithKline. He’s been published in a number of academic journals, given keynote speeches, and has professional affiliations with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Accounting Association.
Davila has been trained in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, and accounting and reporting, but has also functioned as an expert in a number of litigation proceedings. Some of his expert witness experience related to matters such as business valuation, embezzlement and fraudulent financial reporting. He has previously served on the California Board of Accountancy and was once an auditor for Deloitte.
Kranacher puts her skills to work teaching students at this New York school about accounting and finance. In addition to being the ACFE Endowed Professor of Fraud Examination, she is also editor-in-chief of The CPA Journal, and writes and speaks on a number of meaningful topics such as forensic accounting, fraud detection and deterrence, and professional ethics. She is currently president of the Institute for Fraud Prevention and previously served as committee chair of the ACFE Higher Education Committee.
When compiling our list of top forensic accounting professors, we took a number of guidelines into consideration. Admittedly, not all professors on this list meet every guideline, but otherwise assuredly meet a mix of several of these criteria. These guidelines include:
Each of the forensic accounting professors on this list is actively engaged in teaching, often specifically through coursework involving forensic accounting or fraud.
Nearly all of these professors are actively engaged in social networking, most often through a profile on LinkedIn, or perhaps through a Facebook page or personal blog.
Most of these professors are members of at least one or a number of accounting organizations, some specifically related to ASFE membership. Others may serve on boards, as chairs, or in other capacities.
Many of these professors have extensive training in real-world contexts, working as auditors and controllers, actively investigation fraud, or appearing for court proceeding as financial experts.
A majority of our selected professors are actively involved in publication, producing articles for academic journals or publishing full-fledged books on accounting and related topics. Some have co-authored or contributed to articles.
Coursework online. Capstone on-campus.
Online Master's in Forensic Studies
Online Financial Crimes Investigator Certificate
Online BS in Economic Crime Investigation
Online MS in Financial Crime & Compliance Mgmt
Barry is Managing Editor of ForensicsColleges.com, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures Partners LLC, which he co-founded. Barry was previously VP for a financial software company, and currently sits on the board of a K-8 school and lives with his wife and daughters in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Anyone with a bachelor's degree in accounting who wants the opportunity to expand their job prospects and become certified in a particular field would do well to consider further education in forensic accounting.