How to Become a Corporate Investigator

Corporate investigation is an essential practice in the business world that investigates allegations of civil and criminal activities related to a company or organization. Corporate investigators are highly skilled professionals that perform a variety of investigative tasks for their organization.

What does a corporate investigator do?

Corporate investigators investigate a variety of allegations such civil and criminal fraud, embezzlement, irregularities in accounting, information leaks, electronic crime, and many other activities. They carry out internal and external investigations for companies and organizations. Internal investigations involve the investigation of activities that take place inside the corporation such as abused expense accounts or drug use in the workplace. External investigations examine criminal activity from outside the organization such as fraudulent billing from vendors or suppliers. In all cases, corporate investigators develop a strategy for investigation, analyze facts, obtain substantial evidence, locate and interview witnesses, and identify and interview the culprits. Many investigators spend large amounts of time posing as employees to complete their investigations.

What kind of training does a corporate investigator need?

Corporate investigators typically need at least a bachelor degree in a business related field. Many employers prefer candidates with previous work experience in the investigative field. Some corporate investigators have a master degree in business administration or are Certified Public Accountants. Prospective corporate investigators typically complete courses in political science, business administration, accounting, finance, criminal justice, and communications. Many employers provide on the job training where new corporate investigators follow experienced investigators. Large companies typically provide formal training on management structure, business practices, and many other topics related to finance. Most states require corporate investigators to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, but typically include minimum education and experience, passing a background check, and passing a written examination.

What are the prospects for a career as a corporate investigator?

Employment of corporate investigators is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 22% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for corporate investigation services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good with strong competition. Corporate investigators with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities.

How much do corporate investigators make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for corporate investigators is $83,000; average annual corporate investigator salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a corporate investigator is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in corporate investigation and performing a variety of investigative tasks for companies and organizations. Corporate investigators must have a solid understanding of business practices and investigative procedures and be able to merge them to lead successful investigations. Patience, determination, persistence, self-confidence, critical thinking, and good problem solving skills are essential. Corporate investigators must be discreet and have the ability to obtain useful information. They must be trustworthy and have excellent communication to interact with a variety of people.

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