Forensic accounting is financial detective work. It combines accounting, IT, legal, and investigative skills. Professionals often work on fraud and hidden asset investigations, valuations, dispute resolution, and act as expert witnesses in court.
In the first year of this ACCA and ICAEW-accredited Forensic Accounting degree, you will take the same modules as the BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance degree giving you a solid grounding in the principles of accounting. In years two and three you’ll focus on applying forensic accounting techniques whilst continuing with the core accounting subjects. You’ll also learn from our computer forensic experts and use specialist digital analysis software, IDEA.
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has fully accredited this course, so you can gain maximum exemptions from a professional qualification when you graduate. We are also a recognised Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) ‘Partner in Learning’ and, depending on your module choices, you could gain exemptions from ICAEW, with further exemptions offered towards Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) examinations. We work with local employers to offer valuable work placements, where you can practice your new technical skills and understand the realities of the workplace. A placement will also contribute to your degree.
Your first year on the Forensic Accounting degree includes financial and management accounting, an introduction to finance, Statistical techniques and data analysis for accounting, the business environment, and business and corporate law. Year two covers the principles of forensic accounting, financial crime investigation and develops your knowledge of financial reporting and management accounting. You will study financial management and undertake a specialist employability module, where you will have the opportunity to gain the CIMA-accredited Sage Accounting Certificate. Sage is the UK’s biggest accounting software provider.
You will specialise further in your final year, with modules on forensic accounting and the expert witness, and fraud examination. You can also choose optional modules from a range of subjects, including advanced financial reporting, business analysis, and cases in auditing and taxation.
Your first year includes the core disciplines of financial accounting, management accounting, an introduction to finance, quantitative techniques for accounting, the business environment, and business and corporate law. Modules studied:
Year two covers the principles of forensic accounting, and develops your knowledge of financial reporting and management accounting. You’ll study financial management, audit and undertake a specialist employability module where you will develop your Excel spread-sheet skills, work on some of the softer skills that employers require and benefit from an impressive range of guest speakers. You can also gain the CIMA accredited Sage Accounting Certificate. Sage is the UK’s biggest accounting software provider. For students who do not have prior relevant work experience, the employability module incorporates a 70-hour work placement that will allow you to become instantly more employable, learning both profession-specific as well as more general work-related skills.
You’ll specialise further in your final year, with modules on forensic accounting and the expert witness, and fraud investigation. You can also choose optional modules from a range of subjects, including advanced financial reporting, business analysis, taxation and cases in auditing.
You can also choose to undertake a further two modules from the following list:
Option availability will be subject to student demand
The BA (Hons) Forensic Accounting is also available as a four year course including an integrated Foundation Year, and is designed for students who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry onto the degree.
You will start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your skills and knowledge before continuing onto the three year degree programme.
Find out more: Foundation Year (Social Sciences)
Our student-focused approach is a great way to engage with the subject, the tutors and your fellow students. You will be taught through workshops, seminars and innovative e-learning techniques. Alongside teaching from qualified accountants with years of industry experience, you will also learn from staff in the Faculty of Advanced Technology. With access to the latest forensic hardware and software in their specially configured labs, you will benefit from our staff who investigate cases for local and national police forces, business, and government.
As well as our links with ACCA, you will benefit from regular presentations from guest lecturers representing many aspects of the profession. Throughout your course you will get practical experience of the accounting, auditing, and general software packages you will use after you graduate – another skill to add to your CV.
Most modules are assessed by a combination of examination and coursework. There is a variety of coursework helping you develop your employability skills through the use of IT, preparing written reports, and giving presentations.
In addition to the 70-hour work placement available in the Year Two, you can also apply for a one year work placement after your second year of study or short-term placement (up to three months) between your second and third year. It’s a great option if you want a mixture of academic and practical learning, teaching and assessment. These longer work placements are offered with a number of organisations, and in recent years this has included Atradius – one of the world’s largest credit insurers, Alcatel-Lucent – a global communications industry leader, and the Welsh Government. Names like this on your CV will certainly help you stand out from the crowd.
The University of South Wales’ accounting students have access to a financial Trading Room including state-of-the-art computer hardware and software.
The Trading Room add an experiential dimension to the accounting and finance courses, allowing simulation of share dealing and decision making incorporating theory and practice.Through the simulations, you will experience the dynamic and exciting environment of real-time trading in the classroom. You will learn and experience firsthand the complex strategies associated with buying and selling, understand the volatility and fluctuations of the market and the uncertainty of risk. You will be able to assess your individual performance and compete against fellow students. This will give you a range of skills and tools to take into the workplace, ready for a successful career.
Many of our staff are professionally qualified accountants and financial planning professionals who have a wealth of experience in teaching accounting and finance at all levels, including preparation for the examinations of professional accounting bodies. Many of our accounting lecturers are members of our Business Accountability and Responsibility Centre (BARC).
The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.
BCC - CDD (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
AAT Level 3 for 1st year entry or AAT level 4 for direct 2nd year entry onto the degree
Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).
BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).
Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)
Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)
45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes in a relevant subject (106 UCAS Tariff Points)
45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes in a relevant subject (80 UCAS Tariff Points)
GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances
We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.
In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
|Professional Memberships:||£90 - £120||
Yrs. 1-3 (plus year 4 if undertaking a placement year) : £30 annual membership fee of ACFE.
|Placement expenses:||£0 - £500||
The exact cost of any attending any placement is dependent upon the it's location in relation to the student's place of residence, mode of transportation etc. and therefore cannot be determined at this moment in time. Furthermore, depending upon the placement the student may need to purchase suitable attire (e.g. a suit or formal clothing).
|Other: Text books||£300||
Texts are available in the library, but students may wish to purchase their own books.
|Additional assessment or memberships: Student membership of professional bodies||£20||
Reduced fee membership of ACCA "Accelerate" scheme. Normally £79 but we have a special fee of £20.
|Other: Travel Costs for Work placements||£0 - £500||
Placement Year. Travel costs depend on placement location
Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly.
Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU.
Forensic accountants are in demand all over the world. Thanks to a shortage of people with relevant specialist skills, graduates from the Forensic Accounting course can expect to be well paid for their talents. Forensic accountants work for accounting firms, banks, insurance companies and law firms. You will also possess general accounting skills, so you will have the same career opportunities as accounting and finance graduates.
To give you a head start following graduation the University organises an annual employability conference for its accounting students. Previous attendees have included PwC, Eversheds, JK Accountancy, Civitas Law and Watkins & Gunn.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.