How To Find A Forensic Accounting Job in the UK as an Expat

The Finance Story

In this post, you will learn - How To Find A Forensic Accounting Job in the UK as an Expat.

In fact: This article is by Induvant Singh Tomar who has a rich experience in Forensic Accounting. He has worked across UK, India, South East Asia, Middle East, Africa etc.

Today he is sharing with us - How young Accountants can apply for international Forensic Accounting opportunities to get their DREAM JOB.

Induvant is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) with a Masters degree in Commerce.

Presently he is associated with PWC, London in their Forensic Services Team.

What is Forensic Accounting 

Forensic Accounting, often considered a new facet of Accounting has seen an INCREDIBLE expansion in the last decade.

Overall, the scope of Forensic Accounting globally is brighter than ever before.

A Forensic Accountant Today is Involved in Investigating:

  • Fraud
  • Financial Irregularities
  • Advising On Financial Aspects Of The Disputes
  • Quantifying Losses
  • Valuing A Business
  • Designing risk control framework Etc.

Need for Forensic Accountants 

  • What led to the demand for Forensic Accountants? Increase in fraud and bribery, corruption-related incidents, tightening economic conditions led to the demand for Forensic Accountants. Also increased scrutiny of how companies are governed globally contributed to the growth of Forensic Accountants.
  • Forensic Accountants investigate and analyze the evidence. However, they also communicate findings in the form of reports and assists in legal proceedings in the Courts.
  • Corporates, banks, and other regulated institutions increasingly require independent forensic support in investigating cases to demonstrate their commitment to stakeholders, regulators, investors, consumers.
  • Moreover, many corporates (manufacturing, services, etc.) have also set up their internal forensic divisions alongside internal audit. The main reason for this is to maintain confidentiality and cost optimization.
  • Many MBA's, Lawyers, Engineers, Data scientists etc are also joining the forensic space in great numbers. This is because of the huge demand for specialist skill sets required due to the nature, veracity, and impact of the fraud, and related incidents that have been unearthed in recent past.
  • For instance, many organizations have been hiring an ethical hacker to develop a domain/ expertise that could help them prevent cyber-attacks.

Forensic Accounting Opportunities in the UK for Expats 

Traditionally, Forensic Accounting was only associated with the “BIG 4” Accounting Firms.

More recently many tier 2, boutique and law firms in the UK are hiring forensic accountants for their client-related work.

So in the UK, one can find Forensic Accounting opportunities in - Accountancy firms, Insurance companies, Banks, Police forces and Government agencies.

Initially, the UK, US, EU were traditionally seen as the attractive options intentionally on account of a great deal of early economic expansion across these territories.

However, in last decade or so, with South East Asia, Middle eastern regions proving their economic prowess, cities/ countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai have become international hubs pulling resources from across the globe.

Indian Chartered Accountants are recognized globally with the depth and expertise of their domain knowledge.

However, at times, finding a good opportunity to work internationally early in your career (with/without prior experience) can be challenging.  This is because there are multiple factors which play a role in the international job market search.

Accounting firms, like other corporates logically prefer to hire local graduates due to their better understanding of local issues, customs, culture, language, etc. Also, it is more cost-effective for them when it comes to legal, regulatory and training aspects.

Further, the recent geopolitical situation across the globe, with increasing pressure from the governments, corporates are discouraged to hire international candidates, and incentivized for hiring local resources.

My Advice to All Forensic Accountants Looking for an International Opportunity especially in the UK:

  • Chartered Accountants /CPA's from anywhere in the world can find job opportunities on various popular job portals such as reed.co.uk, total jobsindeed, LinkedIn, etc.
  • They can also find opportunities directly on the Corporate/ firm's (prospective employer's) website.
  • Also, there are many popular professional recruitment firms in the UK such as Michael Page, Morgan McKinley, Hays etc which help Chartered Accountants to find a fitting job. Chances to get shortlisted for a job interview however depends upon multiple factors as mentioned in the article (i.e. education, previous experience, work permit, etc).
  • The probability of succeeding in getting the opportunity to work internationally (UK, US, EU, Australia etc.) can be enhanced by adding additional expertise/ skillsets/ certification in your experience.
  •  You can consider - Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), CPA, etc.
  • While the CPA/CFE degree/ certification could help you get a good role in forensic accounting/ fraud related profile - ACAMS certification provides a good opportunity for a role in Financial Crime.
  • Obtaining a Graduate or Post Graduate degree (MBA, Law degree, etc.) from the territory of your preferred choice of work is always helpful.
  • From an experienced candidate's point of view - The big multinational accounting firms/ corporates also provide opportunities to their employees to work internationally with their network firms/ offices either as part of their client-specific requirement or for employee(s) skill development in a particular domain/specialization.

Interview Tips 

While there are no “should or shouldn’t do” lists for an international job interview as such, it is important to keep a few things in mind such as:

  • Being objective/ focused on what you’re doing currently and what you want to continue to do in future.
  • Limiting the conversation to your specialization on skill sets is always helpful - Very often during interviews, questions are asked outside our domain area. At times, it might be tempting to discuss such topics however the best approach is to stay away from such conversations.
  • Be prepared to talk about the many facets of your current role (task, challenges, team). You might like to share - Difficult/ trying instances in your current role, where you came out with flying colors and share the approach you use to deal with such situations.
  • If you have managed a team, it would be great to talk about how you dealt with people issues, challenges, their varied aspirations and took the best out of them.
  • While it’s important to be clear and honest about your long terms goals, it is equally significant to break them in the short/mid (5-7 years) term goals as the changing economic around us demands flexibility.

Tips when moving Abroad as an Expat 

  • The best approach is to be open-minded, flexible, and keen to learn everything that comes your way.
  • There will be a culture shock, environment change, change in working, change in communication and a lot of other new things. The best way to deal with this is - to be receptive to change.
  • Settling in initially could be difficult but over a period of time, things will get easier.
  • If your family member(s) (spouse, child) is moving along with you, you might be in a better position to deal with these challenges that come when settling/moving to a new country. 
  • On a lighter note, from an Indian candidate’s perspective, it’s not that difficult to settle abroad, given most often you’d find an Indian community/ society always nearby in any part of the world
  • Semi-qualified accountants may find it difficult to enter into this field without qualification in the Indian market. However, Big 4 firms in the UK hire college graduates who eventually qualify CA (ACA) post joining the firm– he concluded.

BONUS: Actionable Advice from Chartered Accountants Who Moved Abroad

Lebogang, Chartered Accountant expat living in Amsterdam

I got an opportunity to move to the Netherlands from South Africa through GAAP Placements. However after almost a year at EY, Netherlands I moved two jobs.

While in the Netherlands I changed jobs with Lime recruitment and EMEA recruitment. Few more which you can consider:

Read How I Found A Job Opportunity in the Netherlands as an Expat Chartered Accountant

 

Janet Su, CPA Canada expat living in Switzerland

I first visited Switzerland in 2014 and I fell in love with the country.

In fact, before considering my Masters Degree in Switzerland I had applied for jobs here but it was tough because Swiss companies do not like to sponsor non-Swiss or non-EU nationals.

Two years went by so fast and I finished my Masters degree and I realized I wanted to stay in Switzerland longer, that’s when I decided to do a Ph.D. instead.

The pay from the Ph.D. covers all my costs of living. It is quite generous. The pay is more than most professors make in other countries.

In fact, if we consider the currency exchange, then I am earning more in Canadian dollars than I was earning back home as a CPA. I also pay less taxes here.

You can read – How I quit my job as a CPA Canada and Moved to Switzerland

 

Rishabh, Chartered Accountant expat living in Amsterdam

Once my rotation at EY Sweden ended and I was back in India, I actively started searching for opportunities abroad especially Europe.

It was not easy but soon I got a call from KPMG Netherlands and I was fortunate to clear all the interviews.

Since the profile I had applied for was related to data analytics and I had prior experience in a similar profile, my experience came in handy.

Read How I Found A Job Opportunity in the Netherlands as an Expat Chartered Accountant

Now It’s Your Turn

I’d like to hear from you:

Have you considered moving to the UK? Or Would you know anyone who has moved to the UK as a Forensic Accountant?

Or maybe you have a question about something you read.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

If you have a specific question for me, comment below.

You can reach out to me on LinkedIn - Induvant Singh.

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