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Certified Fraud Examiner, CFE Certification: Details on Examination and Certification for Certified Fraud Examiners
If you’re looking to improve your career in accounting, obtaining an accounting certificate is an excellent first step. Accounting certifications can expand your accounting knowledge and increase your proficiency in a specific area of the accounting field.
Introduction to Certified Fraud Examiner Certification
Fraud examiners use a combination of accounting, investigative, legal, and criminology skills to identify and prevent financial crimes. Whether they work in financial institutions, corporations, or for government agencies, fraud examiners typically perform such tasks as:
- Investigating insurance claims
- Analyzing financial statements and records
- Calculating damages
- Business valuation
- Investigating employee theft
- Interviewing suspects
- Forensic accounting
- Providing litigation support during an investigation
- Testifying in court
Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is a professional credential issued by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and designed to demonstrate proven expertise in fundamental fraud examination topics. Earning the credential has the potential to:
- Facilitate professional growth
- Increase your earning potential
- Increase your marketability
- Distinguish you from others in the field
Key Steps to Certified Fraud Examiner Certification
In order to qualify for the CFE credential, you are required to:
- Be an Associate Member of the ACFE in good standing
- Demonstrate strong moral behavior
- Comply with ACFE’s Code of Professional Ethics
- Have a Bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) or higher from an accredited college or university, as substantiated by documentation –or two years of fraud-related professional experience per year of incomplete study
- Have a minimum of two years of work experience in a fraud-related field, as substantiated by professional recommendations
- Pass the CFE examination
The experience and education requirements are measured by eligibility points, of which you need at least 50 to qualify for certification.
Details of the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam
The CFE exam is a computer-based test that you can take at your leisure. The exam lasts about ten hours total and consists of 500 questions split into four sections. Each 125-question section covers one of the following topics:
Fraud prevention and deterrence
Legal elements of fraud
After you begin the exam, you have 30 days to complete all four sections and submit them to ACFE for grading. After you submit the test, ACFE will send you your results via e-mail within three to five business days.
If you don’t pass, you can retake the exam as many times as necessary by paying a fee of $25 per section (as of 2011). If you studied for the exam using the CFE Exam Prep Course offered by the ACFE, you may qualify for a money-back guarantee.
Preparing for the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam
You have many options when it comes to preparing for the CFE examination. The following are the three most popular methods of studying:
- Study independently using the Fraud Examiner’s Manual, from which 90 percent of the exam content is derived.
- Enroll in the CFE Exam Prep Course, an electronic resource that you can install on your computer and complete at your convenience.
- Participate in the CFE Exam Review Course, a live, instructor-led course held over a period of three and a half days.
In addition, you may find the following resources helpful additions to your study plan:
The CFE Exam Coach e-newsletter, delivered to your inbox every month, offers advice, suggestions, and support to CFE candidates preparing for the test.
The CFE Exam/Prep Discussion Forum is an interactive message board where ACFE members can discuss any questions they may have about the test.
Maintaining the Certified Fraud Examiner Designation
All CFEs are required to earn 20 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every 12 months in order to maintain the designation. Two CPE hours must be in ethics and at least ten hours must be in a field of study that is relevant to fraud detection and deterrence, which includes:
- Fraud examination
- Accounting and auditing
- Investigation methods
Activities that meet the requirement include:
- Attending a formal, instructor-led class
- In-house professional training
- Self-study courses
- Lecturing or serving as a course instructor
- Authorship and publication
- Attending meetings of a local professional society
- Writing for the ACFE publication Fraud Magazine
Certain activities have limitations in terms of how many hours can count toward the requirement. Check the ACFE website for details.
As of 2011, you’re no longer required to report which continuing professional education activities you have participated in — telling an ACFE representative that you’re in compliance with the requirement each year suffices. However, you should always maintain documentation of each earned CPE hour in case you’re selected for a random audit.
Governing Board Information
CFE® certification is issued by:
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
716 West Ave
Austin, TX 78701