Next winter, Centennial College will begin offering its first-ever certificate in financial fraud investigation, an eight-month online program for students and business employees who wish to prevent the sort of faulty accounting that’s made headlines recently.

“We believe there’s a market for it,” says John Harris, chair of accounting, financial services, and legal and administrative studies at Centennial’s School of Business. “With recent corporate accounting scandals, people involved with accounting and professional practice need to be aware of fraud, and learn the knowledge and skills related to financial fraud examination.”

The program is being launched in collaboration with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, “so graduates will end up getting both a graduate certificate from us and will be qualified to write an industry examination” for the ACFE, Harris says.

Courses include:?Electronic investigation, in which students are taught to examine transactions and discover where funds came from; financial institutions and identity theft, which teaches students about “the types of identity theft and investigation techniques in the financial institution, credit card, and insurance industries”; and financial crimes investigation, which teaches students “how to gather evidence and store it for both civil and criminal judicial proceedings.”

Perhaps most eye-catching is the class on forensic accounting, “the process of evaluating financial evidence, such as statements and insurance claims, and tracing it across borders,” Harris says.

The program is designed for students who already have college degrees or equivalent professional experience. “People within large companies who are mature in their work experience will be able to get the most value out of it,” Harris says.

It could also help workers who are in an investigative role already, such as “someone with the bank ombuds office that wants to gain skills in financial fraud investigation, and move into a more senior role,” Harris says.

Students interested in financial fraud investigation as a career should begin by enrolling in a traditional business program and view Centennial’s certificate as a supplement, Harris says.

The financial fraud investigation program begins in January 2010. Cost is $4,013 for two semesters. To register, go to