The business world is rife with incidents of fraud perpetrated by insiders or third parties, and the Certified Fraud Examiner is tasked with identifying the symptoms, analyzing systemic loopholes and recommending remediation strategies. On average, the typical organization loses about 5 percent of its annual income to fraud according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. In dollar terms, this percentage translates to $3.7 trillion globally, underlining the important role of anti-fraud experts in managing business risks. Aside from financial losses, fraud impacts the organization’s brand image. While brand development is not the primary concern of fraud examiners, their tasks may extend to recommending solutions to manage the impact of fraud investigations on employee morale, business processes and public perception of the organization.
Certified Fraud Examiners’ Credentials and the ACFE
The certified fraud examiner credential is a globally recognized proof of qualification for anti-fraud professionals. To qualify for this credential, you must pass an examination given by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, an Austin, Texas-based organization with worldwide operations. The ACFE is the only organization offering the credentialing examinations. With membership of 75,000 worldwide, the ACFE is the largest anti-fraud organization, providing training and education opportunities for fraud detection, prevention strategies and deterrence techniques for anti-fraud professionals.
Prerequisites for CFE Credentialing
The job of a fraud examiner involves high-level investigative, analytical and communication skills. At the minimum, the ACFE requires a bachelor’s degree to apply for associate membership in the organization. Relevant experience may be substituted for the required academic credential at a ratio of two years experience for every year of education. This would be on top of a mandatory minimum of two years work experience in fields related to fraud investigations such as accounting, auditing, loss prevention positions unrelated to being a security guard, criminologist and certain legal occupations. Needless to say, you must also prove that you are of good moral character based on the ACFE’s code of ethics and attested to in writing by verifiable character references.
CFE Examination Details
The credentialing exam for fraud examiners consists of 500 questions divided into four sections of 125 questions each. These sections cover fraud prevention and deterrence, financial transactions, fraud investigations and legal elements of fraud. Questions intend to evaluate your preparedness and skill in identifying red flags and determining evidence of fraud, data collection, report preparation and assessing an organization’s fraud risk based on current operational processes.
To maintain your CFE certification, you will be asked to complete 20 credit hours of continuing professional education courses every year. These courses are offered by the ACFE and other entities, covering trending issues and best practices in fraud investigations and management. Ethics training provided by entities other than ACFE will be considered as long as the course topic is focused on one of the following: personal ethics, corporate ethics, ethical decision-making, ethics and professional conduct or ethical practices in a business environment. You must be in compliance with all other requirements with regards to character, conduct and continuing education credits to be approved for recertification.
Fraud examiners play a crucial role in ensuring the company remains compliant with ethical business practices. You must be trustworthy, dependable and willing to work odd hours. Certified fraud examiners may work in-house or with consultancies that accept fraud management assignments on a per-project basis, which may mean flexible work schedules.