Date of this version


Document Type



Forensic accounting, fraud auditing, independent or individual study


Forensic accounting is a discipline that combines knowledge and skill from accounting, auditing, loss prevention, and law enforcement. Forensic accounting is a growth area in accounting. The auditing and accounting scandals in the late 1990s and early 2000s brought attention to the devastation that financial fraud can bring. In particular, the scandals at Enron and WorldCom, the demise of Arthur Andersen, the collapse of investments banks, and the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act all contributed to a growing awareness of fraud and fraudulent financial reporting. Some colleges and universities began to offer courses in forensic accounting as a required or elective course in their undergraduate or graduate programs. However, some colleges and universities may not be able to require a forensic accounting course, because the accounting curriculum already is so full. If this is the case, an accounting professor might consider an offering independent study in forensic accounting. In this paper, I provide suggestions for preparing and offering such an independent study. I include a syllabus and my assignments, which include: 1) reading textbooks; 2) finding and summarizing examples of actual cases; 3) viewing videos; 4) building and interpreting financial profiles; and 5) writing a research paper. A professor will find that the syllabus and materials can be used in a flexible way, and easily can be adapted, depending on the number of credits of the individual study and the level of the students. This article provides a possible starting point to professors as they start offering such independent studies.

Published in

Journal of Forensic and Investigative Accounting

Citation/Other Information

8(2), 218-240

Included in

Accounting Commons