We recently held a webinar to hear from partner and entrepreneur at DSW Bridge Houghton Forensic*, Kate Beckett, who spoke about what it’s like to work in forensic accounting.
Kate Beckett - partner and entrepreneur DSW Bridge Houghton Forensic
Kate qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2006 at Deloitte, and then worked in the Forensic and Dispute Services Team until 2014. She joined DSW Bridge Houghton Forensic at that point, bringing with her a wide variety of forensic accounting skills from a broad range of forensic assignments across multiple industries.
She has also spent periods of time on secondment in industry, including a large Financial Institution assisting their Financial Crime team, by implementing enhanced Anti-Money Laundering processes.
Jenny Pelling - Apprenticeship Partnerships Director, Kaplan Financial
Joining Kate was Jenny Pelling, Director of Apprenticeship Development and Diversity at Kaplan UK. Jenny’s career in education and apprenticeships has seen her involvement in designing programmes and enhancing provision for learners and employers’ benefit.
She has strategic responsibility for apprentices’ career progression and their personal development. Jenny also leads “Brighter Futures,” at Kaplan which focuses on social mobility and providing opportunities for all.
Key topics discussed
Kate and Jenny’s Q+A
The discussion kicks off with a question and answer session from Jenny to delve further into Kate’s career, views, and experience.
Jenny asks Kate to provide some background information regarding her career path. Kate provides details such as how she qualified in ACCA, worked at Deloitte and the jobs that this would include. She now works for DSW Bridge Houghton Forensic, and explained how she transitioned into that workplace and the difference in her job role.
What is a forensic accountant?
Kate provides a detailed insight into a day in the life of a forensic accountant. She explains in more detail what a forensic accountant does, and what this means for anyone looking to explore that area of accounting and finance.
Skills in forensic accounting
Jenny enquires about the difference in skills between Kate’s role now as a forensic accountant compared to working in audit. Kate highlights a few key skills that are important to her role, particularly mentioning examples such as attention to detail, robustness and credibility. She continues by providing examples of how specific skills are utilised in this industry while comparing them with tasks for those who may work in audit.
The conversation dives further into cross examination skills which can be required in your job role as a forensic accountant, while Kate gives an explanation of how to prepare for tasks like this.
Jenny opens up for questions from viewers of the webinar, many of whom are apprentices with Kaplan interesting to go into this area of accounting and finance.
How to get into forensic accounting
Kate explores the topics of relevant qualifications to get into the industry, how to demonstrate that you have the skills required, and how to get opportunities.
The discussion addresses factors that employers may be looking for. Kate addresses differences in qualifications, such as ACCA, ACA and ATT, and what employers may be looking for, as well as the differences between your work experience being with a large accounting business compared to smaller companies.
The role of data
Kate showcases examples of how the knowledge of how to interpret and analyse data is used in forensic accounting, and having this knowledge, the resources, or access to someone with the skills is increasingly important as everything becomes more and more digitalised.
Average salary in forensic accounting
Jenny asks if Kate can compare the salaries in this area of accounting compared to others. Kate provides her own perspectives while explaining how it usually depends on the company and the individual’s skills.
What experience do you gain in your first year of forensic accounting?
Kate shares her own experience when working in forensic accounting after working for three years in audit. She talks about how her ideas were recognised and appreciated, and how she was provided many opportunities to gain experience in different areas of the role and become part of larger projects where she could showcase and develop her skills.
The role of AI in forensic accounting
An apprentice in the audience asks for Kate’s views on artificial intelligence (AI) and whether its introduction will have a positive or negative impact on the role of a forensic accountant.
In response, Kate provides her opinions supported by her experience, and how AI can be an effective tool as long as the business is accepting of it.
Watch the full recording online
To catch up with Kate and Jenny’s recent discussion and gain more of an understanding into the realities and day in the life of a forensic accountant, watch the full conversation on our YouTube channel.
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* At the time of writing, the employer details were correct however Kate is now an employee of Azets.