Kiara Bean accepting her Distinguished Graduate Award at Embry-Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry-Riddle / Connor McShane) Kiara Bean (left) accepting her Distinguished Graduate Award from Samantha Friedlan, instructor of business, at the College of Business, Security & Intelligence on Embry-Riddle's Prescott Campus. (Photo: Embry-Riddle / Connor McShane)

Distinguished Forensic Accounting Graduate Offers Insight on Embry‑Riddle Experience

Story by Makenna Pringle
Makenna Pringle

Alumna Kiara Bean reflects on her experience earning a degree in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination at Embry‑Riddle. ↖ This heading is for screen readers and wont be visible on the page.

Alumna Kiara Bean reflects on her experience earning a degree in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination at Embry‑Riddle.       

Kiara Bean (’23) just finished her degree in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination as a Distinguished Graduate on Embry‑Riddle's Prescott, Arizona, campus. Now working in San Diego, California, as a Forensic Accounting Associate for a national consulting firm, Bean took a moment to share some insight into her ERAU journey.

What led you to pursue a degree in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination?

I have always liked numbers, mysteries and puzzles. Forensic Accounting brought these three loves together for me. I like the challenge of looking into the financial statements and trying to confirm or disprove the claims in a legal case. Looking for fraud in the financial statements reminds me of looking for different puzzle pieces in the big picture. When the puzzle pieces fall into place, the mystery is solved.

Why did you choose to attend Embry‑Riddle?

I fell in love with the campus from the first moment I stepped onto it. I loved the feel of a small community, and I liked the nature around it. It also helped that this school is the only university in the US that offers Forensic Accounting as a major on the undergraduate level, so I was learning about forensic accounting from my first accounting class, and I did not have to wait for an M.S. program. I also liked that the teachers in my program had real-life experience, which made their lectures more exciting.

Did you work during your collegiate years?

My first job was working at the Wellness Stations around campus during the COVID era. The two jobs that I held for three years (sophomore-senior year) were my front desk assistant jobs at the EagleCard and Safety and Security offices. I really enjoyed working in both of these offices. My supervisors were very supportive and friendly, and I got to meet a lot of the campus community since I was the first point of contact in both offices. I also had the opportunity to work as an Orientation Leader for two years and writer and Editor-in-Chief for Horizons newspaper.

The summer after my junior year (2022), I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the Honors Internship Program at the FBI office in San Diego. It was very exciting to work alongside the agents and apply my knowledge at the Bureau.

What are your hobbies?

I have several hobbies. I love reading, so you can always find me with a book in my hands, whether a fun fiction novel, a classic piece or a nonfiction book. I like to be challenged by building puzzles and playing board games. I also enjoy getting to know new places, walking in nature  and listening to different types of music, from pop to country to classical.

What was your favorite thing about attending Embry‑Riddle?

I liked that a lot of my classes allowed me to apply my knowledge to real-life scenarios through projects. For example, in my investigations class, we got to prepare and argue a case in mock court. In my counterintelligence class, we did a surveillance project where we surveilled mock foreign agents to collect information and understand what they were after. In my fraud auditing course, we got to analyze and detect various types of fraud in the data from real FBI cases.

How did it feel to finally graduate?

I just graduated in May of 2023. Honestly, it’s bittersweet to be done. On one hand, I am glad that this chapter in my life is finished, and I can finally apply what I have learned in a real career. On the other hand, I miss school life and seeing my professors and friends.

What motivates you to keep working in your industry?

My biggest motivations for working in the industry are my honesty and obedience. I like that my work contributes to holding people accountable to the law and other people around them. I also like that I am helping victims get what is rightfully theirs, whether it be reparations, a settlement or some other form of financial damages.

It’s a good feeling when I know that my work is helping someone else and contributing to the greater good.

What are you doing in your role now?

I am currently working as a Forensic Accounting Associate for a national consulting firm in San Diego. In my position, I help put together the financial analyses that the managing directors of the company use when they talk to the clients and their lawyers or when they testify in court as expert witnesses. I work on many different types of cases, from family law to civil litigation and damages. I organize data, run various analyses on financial statements, write up summaries of legal documents and research various claims made by our clients and opposing counsel.

What are your goals for the future?

One day, I would want to be in a leading position where I would manage the whole process of litigating a case and get to testify in court as an expert witness.

Who inspires you?

The person who inspires me most is my mother. She always taught me to work hard for what I want, be honest, and always do my best. It was very inspirational to watch her raise my sister and me, homeschool us during the day, and still go to work in the evenings. I saw how much she gave up so that my sister and I could have good lives, and I want to make her proud.

From finding inspiration in her mother to pursuing a career that benefits the greater good, Bean is passionate about finding success in her field and chasing her dreams.

Apply today to see how Embry‑Riddle can help put you on the fast track to reaching your goals.

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