Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2014, 2, 1-3
Published Online December 2014 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/jss
How to cite this paper: Rezaee, Z., Lo, D. and Ha, M. (2014) International Emergence of Forensic Accounting Education and
Practice. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 1-3. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jss.2014.212001
International Emergence of Forensic
Accounting Education and Practice
Zabihollah Rezaee1, Danny Lo2, Michael Ha3
1Fogelman College of Business & Economics, The University of Memphis, Memphis, USA
2International Business School Suzhou, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
3Department of Mathematical Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Michael.Ha@xjtlu.edu.cn
Received September 2014
Forensic accounting practice has emerged in the areas of litigation support consulting, expert
witnessing, and fraud investigation. Although forensic accounting practice is viewed as one of the
most rewarding and secure career choices, there is a gap between forensic accounting practice
and education. Thus, this study gathers opinions of international students regarding the impor-
tance demand, relevance, benefits, coverage, and delivery of forensic accounting education to in-
ternational accounting students. Results indicate that: 1) the demand for and interest in forensic
accounting education and practice will continue to increase worldwide; 2) forensic accounting can
be integrated to the business curriculum by either offering a stand-alone forensic accounting
course or through infusion into several accounting and business courses; and 3) many of the sug-
gested forensic accounting topics should be integrated into business and accounting curricula in
universities worldwide. The findings can be of great benefit to business colleges and accounting
schools worldwide in redesigning their curricula by providing coverage of the emerging area of
Forensic Accounting Practice and Education, Business and Accounting Curricula, Financial
Forensic accounting practice has emerged in the areas of litigation support consulting, expert witnessing, and
fraud investigation . Although forensic accounting is viewed as one of the most rewarding and secure career
choices, there is still a gap between forensic accounting practice and education. The extant literature in the United
States (Rezaee et al., 2007) provides evidence of the importance of forensic accounting education and practice and
its integration into the business curriculum. However, the evidence of forensic accounting practice and education
in other countries particularly China is rare. Thus, the primary purposes of this paper are to: 1) describe areas of
forensic accounting practices from a global perspective; 2) examine the demand for and interest in forensic ac-
counting practices and education worldwide: and 3) present the most relevant forensic accounting topics to be
Z. Rezaee et al.
integrated into the global business curriculum.
2. Literature Review
Rezaee, Crumbley and Elmore  conducted a survey of both academics and practitioners in the United States and
find that both groups of respondents considered forensic accounting education as being relevant and useful to
accounting students, and suggested forensic accounting topics should be integrated into the accounting curriculum.
Rezaee and Riley  report that since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of July 2002 (SOX), which was
primarily intended to combat FSF and scandals, the Department of Justice has obtained nearly 1300 fraud con-
victions. Forensic accounting first appeared in the United States in the late 1870s and early 1880s due to stock
fraud cases and scandals involving the securities market and the credit industry. The rapid growth of forensic
accounting in China did not take place until the end of the 20th century. The term “forensic accounting” is still
unfamiliar to many in China, but many know what “judicial accounting” means .
A survey of Chinese professionals conducted in 2005-2006 finds that the promotional strength of forensic ac-
counting in China is insufficient with low social awareness  . Thus, there are still many loopholes in the
accounting laws. Some laws and regulations such as the Evidence Act, Investment Act and Property Law need
to be regulated tightly . In the supply of forensic accounting in China, there is no specific organization which
could provide the forensic accounting service. The Shanghai Forensic Accounting Identification Committee has
been concerned about public interests of addressing the accounting materials in the cases including economic
crime, economic dissension, and civil disputes . However, the organization basically still provides the same
services as prior to the surge in forensic accounting.
3. Method and Procedures
A two-page, four-section questionnaire was prepared, pretested, revised, and then sent to the participants. The
three main sections of the survey asked respondents for their perceptions of the future demand for and interest in
all three areas of forensic accounting practices, ways that forensic accounting education can be integrated into the
accounting curriculum and educational content of forensic accounting education. The last section sought com-
ments on forensic accounting education and practice and financial reporting fraud.
A survey was conducted at 2 different universities located in Suzhou, China. The first group consisted of 167
senior Financial Mathematics students at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and the second group consisted of
123 graduate school students at SKEMA Business School on its China campus located in Suzhou. The survey-
was conducted primarily because of students’ education and work experience in business, financial reporting
knowledge, and familiarity with areas of forensic accounting practices. Senior Chinese and international students
from these universities were selected because: 1) Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University is a Sino-British university
offering 24 degree programs in the fields of Mathematics, Science, Engineering, Business, Management and
Culture; 2) the language of instruction is English; 3) two of the authors are the instructors at Xi’an Jiaotong-
Liverpool University; 4) one of the authors was the instructor of a Year 4 Financial Risk Management offered in
the Fall semester of 2013 when the survey was conducted; 5) one of the authors was the instructor of Corporate
Finance at SKEMA Business School. The questionnaire was administered by the author in 2 classes with a com-
bination of 186 Chinese students and 114 international students.
4. Results and Discussions
The majority of both groups of respondents (Chinese and international students) reported that they expect future
demand for and interest in fraud examination, expert witnessing and litigation support services with the highest
interest in litigation support. Results indicate that majority of both groups of respondents believe that forensic
accounting courses should be offered at graduate, undergraduate and/or both graduate and undergraduate levels.
Results also show that both groups of respondents agreed that Corporate governance plays an important role in
preventing and detecting fraud, forensic accounting education and antifraud policies and procedures should be
integrated into the accounting curriculum.
We asked both groups of respondents to indicate the importance of 21 suggested forensic accounting topics.
Results reveal that Chinese students rank the importance of these 21 topics for integration into the accounting
curriculum much higher that international students and differences in many responses (19 out of 21) are statisti-
Z. Rezaee et al.
cally significant. Results show that both Chinese and international students ranked the topics “financial statement
fraud”, “legal elements of fraud” and “antifraud education and practice” at the top of their list. The main dispar-
ity between the two groups involved the topic of “types of fraud,” and “cyber and computer fraud” which was
ranked as one and six by international students respectively and as low as 14th and 20th by Chinese students re-
spectively. Chinese students tend to rank fraud-type and cyber and computer fraud lower than international stu-
dents. Chinese students show more interest than international students in the coverage of fraud examination in-
cluding topics such as financial statement fraud, legal elements of fraud, environment and business red flags,
elements of fraud, anti-fraud criteria and professional standards pertaining to forensic accounting. While inter-
national students consider fraud examination important, they placed more importance on topics pertaining to
types of fraud, antifraud education and practice corporate governance and principles of ethics and corporate
code of conduct.
Results show that the demand for and interest in forensic accounting practice is expected to continue to increase.
Business schools and accounting programs throughout the world should respond to such demand by offering fo-
rensic accounting courses at either undergraduate and/or graduate levels. Furthermore, the majority of 21 sug-
gested forensic accounting topics are considered as important by both groups of Chinese and international students
for integration into the accounting curriculum. Results provide support for forensic accounting practices and
education worldwide. The suggested forensic accounting topics can help business schools and accounting pro-
grams to customize their forensic accounting courses to meet expectations of their stakeholders.
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