Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree Granting Department
Curriculum and Instruction
Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.
Mark H. Taylor, Ph.D.
Uday S. Murthy, Ph.D.
Andrew Artis, Ph.D.
Liliana Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Thomas Stablein, D.B.A.
Corruption, Accountants, Accounting Education, Necessary Skills, Training Requirements
The various high-profile cases of financial fraud that threatened to or led to the downfall of high ranking companies have reinforced the need to equip accounting professionals with the skills necessary to detect and investigate fraud. This study aims to evaluate forensic accountants' effectiveness in Saudi Arabia in meeting the needs of the judicial system and their clients. The study also seeks to explore forensic accounting in depth through the opinions, thoughts, concerns, conceptualizations, and experiences of Saudi judges who are routinely involved in forensic accounting cases. These cases often require expert testimony (i.e., cases involving, but not limited to, fraud, insurance claims, contract disputes, business loss estimation, and intellectual property claims). The study also seeks to obtain the insights of accounting educators and practicing forensic accountants in Saudi Arabia to better understand the skills required to practice forensic accounting successfully.
For this research, a mixed-methods research approach was adopted, as it combines surveys and interviews to ensure a wide range of the research questions are covered (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). The qualitative stage involved seven semi-structured interviews, and the seven judges that participated came from the commercial court of appeals and commercial courts. The quantitative phase was based on an online questionnaire distributed to 600 CPAs accounting professionals with fraud and forensic accounting focus areas and 400 accounting faculties and educators' members in three major Saudi Arabia regions.
The findings provided insights into forensic accounting education. Also, it highlighted the current state of forensic accounting education in Saudi Arabia - there is an urgent need for accounting professionals with the requisite skills in fraud detection and forensic accounting. Due to the increasing number of corporate scandals in Saudi Arabia and even worldwide, forensic accounting training has become the order of the day. Therefore, every accounting student has to be trained in forensic accounting, and accounting programs throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must incorporate forensic accounting as part of their curriculum.
The results of this research work highlights several important subjects and themes related to the role of a forensic accounting services professional, the types of services they provide, the work-based and personal skills required, and the future demand for forensic accountants in Saudi Arabia.
As previously stated, Forensic accounting is a multidisciplinary area, and the findings of this study conform to forensic accounting's multidisciplinary nature. This study also indicates that educational offerings can have an influence. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the educators' and practitioners’ perceptions of forensic accounting materials and their preferred teaching methods are substantially different.
The participants were sought to share their views on the importance of 25 different subjects in forensic accounting. The two groups agreed that all 25 subjects were relevant, even though the rankings differed to some degree.
The respondents indicated their belief that there will continue to be a strong demand for forensic accountants. This testimony should be considered by universities when planning curricula. It is also critical for students to take note of this findings when deciding on a major career path. There is also a need to assist academics in Saudi Universities to ensure they satisfactorily integrate forensic accounting into the accounting curriculum.
The results indicate an overall lack of social awareness on the need for forensic accounting within the Saudi society and the education sector in Saudi Arabia. It points out the lack of experienced forensic accountants due to limited forensic education for Saudi universities' accounting students. Finally, the study also finds a lack of forensic accounting standards that accountants can use or refer to when acting as an expert witness for litigation consultants.
Scholar Commons Citation
Alzahrane, Mohammed, "Forensic Accounting Education, Practice, and Career Path in Saudi Arabia" (2021). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.