Syllabus for ACC-501

PRINCIPLES OF FORENSIC ACCOUNTING


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Principles of Forensic Accounting provides a solid foundation for building skills in forensic accounting techniques, including gathering, interpreting, and documenting evidence. In this course we examine the investigative techniques used by accountants to conduct forensic examinations as well as the common schemes and techniques used to commit fraud. The skills acquired will enable you to assist businesses in detecting, investigating, documenting, and preventing fraud. The course also introduces you to the many professional opportunities available to forensic accountants.

Advisory: Students considering enrolling in this graduate course should have a thorough understanding of the business transaction cycle and, at a minimum, a background in both financial accounting and auditing, obtained through either prior coursework or professional experience.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to: 

  1. Implement the best practices used by forensic accountants, including investigative techniques, standards of proof, and report format used to support their conclusions.
  2. Describe the types of research and the wide array of investigations that forensic accountants are customarily engaged to conduct.
  3. Discuss the various roles undertaken by forensic accountants, as well as their requirements and certifications.
  4. Differentiate roles and responsibilities of the financial statement auditor and the forensic investigator.
  5. Summarize the “red flags” used by forensic accountants to detect fraud.
  6. Assess the objectives of the forensic accountant called in as part of the fraud investigation team.
  7. Describe and practice “professional skepticism.”
  8. Evaluate the fraudulent schemes commonly encountered by the forensic accountant.
  9. Plan a forensic investigation by gathering and documenting evidence, including cases where there is known or suspected fraud.
  10. Discuss the professional ethical responsibilities of the forensic accountant and develop appropriate recommendations or strategies for resolving potential ethical dilemmas.
  11. Identify internal controls or other methods that can be used to help prevent fraud.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbooks are available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbooks

  • Hopwood, W. S., Leiner, J. J., & Young, G. R. (2008). Forensic accounting. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin. 

    ISBN-13: 978-0-07-352685-0

  • Knapp, M. C. (2010). Forensic accounting—ACC 501. Two case studies. Custom publication. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

    ISBN-10: 1-111-29530-1

COURSE STRUCTURE

Principles of Forensic Accounting is a three-credit online course, consisting of seven (7) modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below, along with their associated course objectives and topics..

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate fully in eleven (11) online discussion forums (worth 16% of your course grade) and to complete three (3) sets of review questions (worth 6%), eight (8) integrative writing assignments (worth 32%), four (4) case assignments (worth 36%), and two (2) research assignments (worth 10%). For the assignment details, see the individual course modules.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum in Module 1, Principles of Forensic Accounting requires you to participate in eleven (11) graded discussion forums. The graded discussion forums are worth 16% of your course grade.

Communication and collaboration among fellow students and with the mentor is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct assignments: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i.e., your understanding of readings, concepts, and practices as demonstrated by well-articulated, critical thinking) and quantity of your participation (i.e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Meaningful participation in online discussions is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement.

Writing Assignments

Writing assignments include sets of review questions, integrative assignments, case assignments, and research assignments.

Prepare your writing assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

 

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text format (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

B–

=

80–82

A–

=

90–92

C+

=

78–79

B+

=

88–89

C

=

73–77

B

=

83–87

F

=

Below 73

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

 Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

 

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:

Please refer to the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the College Catalog and online at www.tesc.edu.

 

 

Plagiarism

Using someone else’s work as your own is plagiarism. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism 

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

 

Disciplinary Process

First-time incidents of academic dishonesty concerning plagiarism may reflect ignorance of appropriate citation requirements. Mentors will make a good faith effort to address all first-time offenses that occur in courses. In these cases, the mentor may impose sanctions that serve as a learning exercise for the offender. These may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool including a lower grade when appropriate. The mentor will notify the student by e-mail. Decisions about the sanctions applied for subsequent plagiarism offenses or other violations will be made by the appropriate dean’s office, with the advice of the mentor or staff person who reported the violation. The student will be notified via certified mail of the decision. Options for sanctions include:

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