What is a Certified Fraud Examiner?

Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) refers to a credential that the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) awards to competent professionals who meet their high standards. Below explains who the ACFE is and how to become certified fraud examiners.

The CFE Credential

Those who want to become certified fraud examiners must first meet the basic academic requirement of having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited higher education institution. Those who lack a four-year degree may substitute two years of professional experience related to fraud examinations. However, all fraud examiner professionals must have at least two years of direct or indirect experience in the field related to fraud detection.

The ACFE recognizes the following jobs qualifying professional experience: auditing, accounting, criminology, financial loss prevention and fraud investigation and law enforcement. Next, the ACFE expects candidates to submit references that attest to their commendable moral character. The ACFE also requires candidates to adhere to their code of ethics, which states that fraud examiners must not engage in any illegal or unethical conduct and continually exhibit the highest levels of integrity.

The ACFE Exam

All certified fraud examiners must successfully pass the CFE Exam, which consists of approximately 500 questions that are divided into four sections of 125 questions each. Topics cover ethics, criminology, financial transactions, the legal elements of fraud and fraud examinations and investigations. The computer-based test only allots 75 seconds per question.

To illustrate, the financial transaction section tests the candidate’s knowledge of the various types of fraudulent activities. Candidates must know auditing theories, fraud schemes, internal controls and basic accountancy to pass this section. The fraud investigation section includes questions about interviews, statements, public records and illicit transactions. The fraud deterrence section examines the candidate’s knowledge of why individuals commit fraud and what policies and processes can prevent it.

CFE Career Advice

Certified fraud examiners may start out their careers working in different positions. For example, an anti-fraud specialist at a bank or financial institution will work with the financial crime prevention team. Anti-fraud specialists will work with risk engagement teams to deliver fraud detection, prevention and response solutions. They must have a solid understanding of financial institution fraud schemes, such as money laundering, and financial crimes, such as identity theft. They must have the CFE credential or the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (CAMS) certification.

Related Resource: What Jobs are in Accounting Fraud?

Corporate compliance or ethics analysts work with cross functional stakeholders to apply, interpret and enforce a variety of federal laws, state regulations and internal standard. They act as advisors to management on ethical conundrums and compliance issues as they relate to financial transactions. They conduct internal investigations and assist with external regulatory audits by working with the target business unit and maintaining appropriate confidentiality. Corporate compliance specialists run enterprise-wide compliance programs by administering corporate risk and compliance systems, performing self-assessments and risk evaluations and reviewing ethics related policies and procedures.

A Certified Fraud Examiner is a qualified accounting professional who uses their specialized knowledge of fraudulent behaviors and corporate corruption to prevent, detect and investigate financial fraud.