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Hands Up - We're The Forensic Accountants

15 August 2011

Spiralling levels of fraud, litigation and economic crime have led the University of Ulster’s Business School to team up with PriceWaterhouseCoopers to introduce a Forensic Accounting module as part of their Accounting degrees.

The course, which is available on the Accounting and Accounting with Law degrees, will give students a deep grounding in issues relating to commercial disputes, fraud and economic crime risks, governance and business ethics.

Commenting on the new course, Ian McConnell, Forensic Services Partner with PwC in Belfast said it was a reflection of challenges facing business today.

“The popularity of the new module and the demand for specialist forensic accounting skills reflects increased levels of economic crime, increased regulation and the growing importance of good governance and ethics across the economic and business environment.  We are responding by embedding forensic accounting within accounting and legal studies.

"Very often accountants are in positions where they are responsible for fraud risk, regulatory compliance and wider governance within the organisations in which they work, this module is about helping them be better prepared for those future challenges.”

Recent surveys suggest that while economic growth is lacklustre, economic crime is alive and well and prospering in both the public and private sectors.

So-called economic crime – ranging from accounting fraud, asset misappropriation to bribery and money laundering are all sharply up, with only a third of fraud uncovered by internal audit or risk management processes.

Judith Wylie, Lecturer in Forensic Accounting at Ulster, who undertook her professional training in practice, said: "The involvement of PwC’s Forensic Services team will provide practical experience into this emerging area of accounting practice and provide an insight into specialist areas such as bribery and corruption, cybercrime and computer forensics.

“We will also have access to ‘Investigate!’ an electronic investigation simulation, developed by PwC, to give those in industry, and now our students, the opportunity to experience an investigation into misconduct first hand”.

"This is a fantastic example of how third level education can work with industry to ensure that students are best equipped for the future with skills that are relevant for the business environment".

Dr Gillian Armstrong, Head of the Accounting Department at Ulster, said: “That Accounting at Ulster is committed to offering professionally oriented programmes and modules such as this, which involve employer engagement in development, delivery and sponsorship, to provide unique learning opportunities for students.”

The course will become available from September 2011.


Caption:  Introducing the new Forensics Accounting module at the University of Ulster are: (l to r) Ian McConnell, Forensic Services Partner with PwC, Judith Wylie, Lecturer in Forensic Accounting at Ulster and Dr Gillian Armstrong, Head of the Accounting Department at Ulster.

Notes for Editors

About the Ulster Business School

The Ulster Business School is one of the faculties of the University of Ulster. With approximately 140 academic staff, and over 6,000 student registrations, the School is one of the largest providers of business and management education and training in Britain and Ireland.

About PwC

PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) firms provide industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to enhance value for their clients. More than 161,000 people in 154 countries in firms across the PwC network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. See for more information.