The Master of Forensic Accounting Program
The growing complexity of personal and organizational interactions and an increased appetite for formalized methods of dispute resolution have combined to heighten the need for accountants skilled in investigation and resolution of financial disputes in both civil and legal proceedings. Investigative and forensic accounting is the rigorous investigation of the financial aspects of a particular situation, usually with the objective of establishing evidence relating to possible or pending criminal or civil legal proceedings. It involves the investigation of situations where "white collar" crime is suspected and also those where a dispute needs to be resolved.
Fraud, money laundering, supplier kickbacks and other examples of "white collar" crime represent a serious threat to business competitiveness. Accountants are increasingly involved with the investigation of these activities and of the investigation of economic losses due to damages to businesses, property or personal injury. While the demand for forensic accountants has been said to be increasing by 100 percent per year there is a dearth of university courses and programs designed to educate forensic accountants.
The IFA practitioner requires a broad range of knowledge and skills to carry out financial investigations. These include: accounting, audit, and income tax knowledge; fraud knowledge; knowledge of law and rules of evidence; an investigative mentality and critical scepticism; understanding of psychology and motivation; and, strong communication skills.
The Master of Forensic Accounting (MFAcc) program is designed to provide a graduate professional accountant, or equivalent, with the skills, knowledge, insights and professional characteristics necessary to successfully respond effectively to:
the challenges of investigating fraud, other aspects of white-collar crime, money laundering, and other financial disputes, and
the provision of reports, advice and evidence to clients, lawyers and courts for the resolution of situations relating to possible or pending civil or criminal legal proceedings.
Consisting of 10 courses, the Forensic Accounting program will be delivered part-time over a period of two years, primarily on a distance learning, problem-based learning basis.
Forensic Accounting means "suitable for use in a court of law", and it is to that standard and potential outcome that forensic accountants generally have to work to. Forensic accountants often have to give expert evidence at trials.
The MFAcc Program trains Forensic Accountants to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business realities of situations.
Students are required to complete 10 graduate credits over a 2 year period - these courses run one at a time, each following the next in the order listed. The delivery mode for each MFAcc course is ONLINE SYNCHRONOUS.
IFA 1900H Forensic Accounting & Investigation, Fraud & Cybercrime
IFA 1905H Fraud Prevention, Risk Assessment & Investigation, Data Analytics & Security
IFA 1906H Money Laundering, Asset Tracing & Recovery & International Aspects of Fraud
IFA 1901H Forensic Accounting Professional & Practice Issues
IFA 1907H Legal & Legal Process Issues for Forensic Accounting
IFA 2900H Loss Quantification
IFA 2905H Advanced Forensic Investigation & Psychological Aspects of White Collar Crime
IFA 2906H Business Valuation, Bankruptcy & Insolvency, & Advanced Loss Quantification
IFA 2903H Research Project on Emerging Issues/Advanced Topics
IFA 2904H Integrative Capstone
MFAcc Course Descriptions
Forensic Accounting & Investigation, Fraud & Cybercrime (IFA1900H)
The intention of the Forensic Accounting & Investigation, Fraud & Cybercrime course is to acquaint students foundational topics that will underpin the rest of the MFAcc Program.
This course will provide an introduction to the:
- roles of an Investigative and Forensic Accountant as experts, and challenges involved
- functional areas of expertise
- an examination of various aspects of fraud such as legal issues, types and classifications, a structured approach to financial investigations, and specific types of fraud including: financial statement and other investor frauds, and accounting and procurement frauds.
- an introduction to fraud prevention
- consideration of loss quantification including types of claims, damage estimations, and an overview of the related litigation process
- Cybercrime will be introduced, as will the risks and issues it represents.
Fraud Prevention, Risk Assessment & Investigation, Data Analytics & Security (IFA1905H)
Fraud Prevention, Risk Assessment & Investigation, Data Analytics & Security will provide a continuation of the examination of fraud, and its investigation, as well as rubrics for the assessment of fraud and approaches to fraud prevention. The second half of the course will be devoted to an examination of data analysis and analytics in forensic matters, as well as their use in cybercrime, and how computer security can be protected and maintained. Understanding and the roles required of a forensic accountant in these matters.
Money Laundering, Asset Tracing & Recovery, & International Aspects of Fraud (IFA1906H)
This course will cover the recovery of proceeds of crime, the recovery of assets which have “disappeared”, and the international aspects of fraud.
Specific topics will include:
- related regulatory and legal matters including use of Mareva injunctions
- Anton Piller and the Norwich Pharmacal orders
- data gathering, tracing and recovery methods
- bribery and corruption of foreign officials (FCPA)
- avenues of recovery under criminal and civil processes including insurance claims, and the use of the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act.
Forensic Accounting Professional & Practice Issues (IFA1901H)
Earlier courses have provided foundational material about what a forensic accountant does. The Forensic Accounting Professional & Practice Issues course examines the conduct required of a forensic accountant for a successful professional career.
Important topics and cases cover the cycle of an IFA engagement, including:
- the role of and expectations for forensic accountants
- professional ethics
- dealing with clients – engagement definition, conflicts, planning
- dealing with staff – scope of work, supervision, collection and analysis of evidence, file documentation, use of email, drafts; report types, content considerations, and preparation, litigation privilege, privacy; expert witness and similar roles.
Legal & Legal Process Issues for Forensic Accountants (IFA1907H)
Forensic accountants are called upon to investigate possible breaches of contracts, laws, or regulations, and to prepare reports that could be actionable in court, if necessary. IFA 1907H will review relevant laws and court related procedures to prepare the forensic accountant to fulfil their duties without offending legal expectations.
Specific topics that will be covered will include:
- employment or labour law
- family law
- electronic commerce
- intellectual property law
- rules of civil procedure
- trial and alternative dispute resolution processes
- remedies and measures of damages, fraudulent conveyances, and assignments
- criminal law and procedure
- administrative law
Loss Quantification (IFA2900H)
Building upon the introduction to loss quantification in earlier courses, the Loss Quantification course will present additional material on: types of claims; overview of damages; overview of the litigation process; lost revenues; additional costs; inventory losses; expert reports; alleged wrongdoing; methodological and technical issues; personal injury; and business interruption insurance and insurance law.
Advanced Forensic Investigation & Psychological Aspects of White Collar (IFA2905H)
Building upon the introduction to investigative techniques in earlier courses, the Advanced Forensic Investigation & Psychological Aspects of White Collar course will continue the coverage and introduce topics germane to forensic accountants in the future. In addition, to build an understanding of the psychology and practices of financial/white collar criminals, current research findings, studies, and examples will be examined.
Specific investigative matters to be discussed will include:
- planned bankruptcies and insolvencies
- arson and murder for profit
- criminal code frauds
- structured investigative approaches
Business Valuation, Bankruptcy & Insolvency, & Advanced Loss Quantification (IFA2906H)
Forensic accountants may be called upon to be involved in the valuation of businesses and/or the revenue streams and costs related to them. In addition, they may become involved in assessing, investigating, and/or recommending on bankruptcy and/or insolvency matters. Finally, a set of advanced loss quantification techniques will be introduced to the extent not covered elsewhere. The Business Valuation, Bankruptcy & Insolvency, & Advanced Loss Quantification course will provide an introduction to each, and an in-depth examination of important topics and 'real' examples.
Research Project on Emerging Issues/Advanced Topics (IFA2903H)
This course will focus on topics with the promise of significant innovative impact on forensic accounting challenges or developments. This course provides an opportunity for students to research and learn about an emerging issue or area of IFA speciality that is of particular interest to them under the supervision of a professor, and with the mentorship of a professional expert. Students must deliver a significant publication-ready paper of not less than 50 pages. The course also covers specific topics at advanced levels such as a comparison of U.S. and Canadian (and Quebec) legal and legal process differences.
Integrative Capstone (IFA2904H)
Building on the MFAcc program over the last two years, the Integrative Capstone is a course that brings together all aspects of MFAcc online learning in a residency session, and provides the opportunity to discuss these with senior professors and professional experts. It will incorporate all new aspects introduced in the MFAcc Program.
Senior professionals provide in residence instruction on complex and nuanced matters that require personal interaction, and instruction including:
- interview and interrogation techniques
- client management
- interaction with lawyers and judges
- courtroom procedure.
The Capstone course concludes with role playing in real client scenarios, and moot court simulations with real judges and lawyers where students give evidence in chief and are cross examined.