How to Become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

How to Become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

The Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credentialing program is overseen and administered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), an independent organization that provides anti-fraud training and establishes guidelines for the effective conduct of fraud investigations.

To become a Certified Fraud Examiner, candidates must be a bachelor's degree holder and have at least two years of qualifying experience in accounting, criminal justice, fraud investigation, loss prevention, and/or the legal profession.

Candidates without two years of work experience, who have a master's or doctoral degree and/or related certificates in accounting, finance, and/or information systems security are also eligible for certification by the ACFE. Prior to certification, eligible candidates must join the ACFE, pass the CFE certification exam, and agree to follow the CFE Code of professional ethics.

Who is a Fraud Examiner?


A fraud examiner is a trained professional investigator who examines financial records, analyzes financial transactions, and conducts forensic audits in order to detect fraud and other types of financial crimes.

Fraud examiners can work for banks and other financial institutions, state and federal law enforcement authorities, and legal and accounting organizations. They, like other types of investigators, may work as independent consultants for a variety of clients in private practice.

Embezzlement, misuse of funds, tax evasion, money laundering, and illicit investment schemes are some of the offenses probed by fraud examiners, which vary by field and case. A certified fraud examiner may be contacted to interview suspects, testify in civil and criminal prosecutions, and/or write legal reports to be filed with a state or federal financial supervision agency, depending on how the investigation would be done.

What Are The Training For Fraud Examiners?


Fraud examiners are often trained in accounting, banking, business, and/or finance, in addition to criminal and civil legal proceedings, financial information technology, and data storage systems.

There are bachelor's degree programs that include a defined major in fraud and financial crime investigation, as well as master's degree programs in financial crime and fraud management. For students with an advanced degree in another area, several colleges offer a post-graduate certificate in fraud/financial crime investigations.

These programs teach students how to examine financial reports and bank data, conduct forensic audits, identify suspicious and/or fraudulent activities, and generate reports for use in evidentiary hearings and other official proceedings.

It's not unheard of for fraud examiners to start their careers with an associate or bachelor's degree in a variety of fields, such as business, accounting, economics, sociology, or psychology. There are other sorts of training programs, including master's degree programs, that are meant to give the skills needed to function as a fraud examiner.

Some fraud examiners start their careers in the criminal justice or accounting fields, and many fraud examiners are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). All of these paths can lead to a career in fraud and financial crime investigations, as well as eventual CFE accreditation.

CFE Certification


The ACFE is a self acclaimed "world's leading anti-fraud organization and premier source of anti-fraud training and education,". The ACFE runs the Certified Fraud Examiner certification program as part of its aim to maintain high standards in the field of fraud prevention, detection, and deterrence. While CFE certification is not necessary to work in the field of fraud investigations, many employers and clients prefer to hire fraud examiners who hold a CFE certification, and ACFE certification can help with career advancement.

To become a CFE, you must first join the ACFE and then pass the examinations that assess your knowledge in four important areas, which are:

  1. Fraud Prevention & Deterrence
  2. Financial Transactions & Fraud Schemes
  3. Investigation Methods
  4. Civil and Criminal Law

The ACFE offers a $399 Student Package that includes one year of ACFE membership as well as an online CFE Exam Prep Course. After meeting the academic and work requirements, student members are able to take the CFE exam at no additional cost.

Candidates for certification have thirty days to complete the eight-hour CFE exam, which is divided into four sections and conducted online. Candidates must submit their exam together with an affidavit attesting that it was done without the use of outside aid.

Certified Fraud Examiner exam pass rate


To be certified, you must pass all four sections of the exam with a score of 75 percent or above. The ACFE also offers a four-day, classroom-based CFE Exam Review Course and a 2000-page Fraud Examiners Manual to help candidates prepare for the CFE exam.

Why Get CFE Certification?


There are several benefits of getting CFE certification. The most important ones include:

  1. High Salary: Earning a CFE certification will help accounting professionals advance in their careers and earn more money. According to the ACFE, certified fraud examiners make 34% more than their non-certified counterparts. As of 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that all financial examiners will earn a median annual pay of $81,430.
  2. Preferred Status: Certified fraud examiners generally have an advantage over non-certified specialists. Many employers' recruiting and promotion procedures may consider CFE certification. This accreditation may also catch the attention of human resources personnel, allowing the employment process to go more quickly.
  3. Meaningful Work: Certified fraud examiners can help an organization enhance its financial health. These specialists frequently work with law enforcement and may testify in court. According to ACFE data, firms that employ CFEs identify fraud 50 percent faster than organizations that do not have CFEs on staff.

Steps to Becoming a Certified Fraud Examiner


While there are a variety of educational and career paths that might lead to CFE certification, the following are the important steps:

  1. Earn a bachelor's degree in accounting, business, finance, economics, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, and/or computer science from an approved institution or university.
  2. Start a career in one of the many disciplines linked to fraud investigations, such as accounting, finance, banking, law enforcement, and computer forensics, or pursue a master's degree in forensic accounting, fraud investigation, financial crime management, digital forensics, or another related field.
  3. Join the ACFE.
  4. Take the CFE Exam Prep Course and/or the CFE Exam Review Course to prepare for the CFE certification exam.
  5. To sit for the CFE exam, you must first meet the educational and professional eligibility requirements. Then you must register to take the exam.
  6. Pass the exam with a 75 percent or higher passing score in the period provided (8 hours over thirty days).
  7. Make a commitment to follow the CFE Code of Professional Ethics.

Paying for the Exam


Applicants for the CFE must submit a $450 application fee. You can apply for the CFE Exam online. Applicants who purchased the CFE Exam Prep Course will receive a $100 exam credit. Purchasing this program may also save money by preventing test takers from having to retake the exam.

Fees for retakes are $100 per section. Applicants should be aware that the ACFE limits retakes to three.

How To Pass Certified Fraud Examiner Exam


CFE certification sets professionals apart from the competition, but it requires time and effort to be certified. Applicants can study for the CFE exam by purchasing a CFE exam prep course and preparing a study schedule. Joining a study group, taking notes, and participating in the ACFE's CFE Exam Challenge program are all good ways to prepare. The Certified Fraud Examiner exam is not difficult if you have enough details of the Certified Fraud Examiner Course and the right resources to help you prepare

1. Buy the CFE exam prep course


Pre-assessment questions and immediate feedback are included in this self-study program. A digital copy of the Fraud Examiners Manual is also provided for users. Candidates can use the practice examinations in the course to help them pass the CFE exam in fewer attempts.

2. Create a study schedule


Working professionals may find it difficult to study due to a lack of time. Creating dedicated study time, on the other hand, can help you perform better in exams. Candidates can best prepare for the exam by devoting daily or weekly hours to studying the Fraud Examiners Manual.

3. Join a study group


Obtaining CFE certification is a common goal among accounting professionals. Candidates who have established a network in the subject are likely to know others who are considering taking the exam. Test takers can engage with other experts in study groups and quiz each other on exam content.

4. Take notes


The Fraud Examiners Manual is a vast resource that some applicants may find intimidating. Taking notes on complex or perplexing issues and returning to tough areas is recommended by the ACFE. Test takers should go over their notes on a frequent basis.

5. Partake in the CFE Exam Challenge


The ACFE holds a 90-Day CFE Exam Challenge twice a year. Through the ACFE online community group, this program offers study suggestions and peer assistance. Candidates who participate in this program may find it easier to stay motivated to pass the CFE exam.

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