What Is the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)?

The term Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) refers to an organization that was created to combat fraud and deception in business practices. The organization was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. It is the accrediting agency for professionals who have the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

The ACFE is also the governing body of the world's certified fraud examiners. The association provides its members with education, tools, and training geared toward aiding its members in their efforts.

Key Takeaways

  • The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is an organization that was created to combat fraud and deception in business practices.
  • The ACFE is the accrediting agency for professionals with the Certified Fraud Examiners designation.
  • It is also the governing body of the world's certified fraud examiners.
  • The association provides its members with education, tools, and training geared toward aiding its members in their efforts.

Understanding the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)?

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners was founded in 1988 and is based in Austin, Texas. The organization also has offices in London and Tokyo. With more than 85,000 members with chapters around the world, the ACFE is the world's largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education.

ACFE members come from different professional backgrounds and have responsibilities, but they are generally interested in fraud detection and prevention. They work closely with different fraud and law enforcement agencies to reduce white-collar crime and other forms of business fraud. Membership gives individuals access to tools and career development, along with career support and networking opportunities. Professionals can also take the exam to become a CFE.

The Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is a professional certification available to fraud examiners who conduct forensic audits and track down financial crimes, among other duties. CFEs have a unique set of skills that are not found in any other career field or discipline. They combine knowledge of complex financial transactions with an understanding of methods, law, as well as how to resolve allegations of fraud. CFEs are subject to periodic continuing professional education requirements in the same manner as certified public accountants (CPAs).

The CFE exam tests professionals' knowledge in four different areas including financial transactions and fraud schemes, law, investigation, and fraud prevention and deterrence. The exam is taken online and is closed-book. Test-takers are not allowed any notes and must enable a web camera during the exam. Participants have 30 days to complete the exam and are allowed to take each section for a maximum of three tries until they pass. A score of 75% in each section is required to pass the exam.

Many professional industries employ CFEs—for instance, corporate accountant Cynthia Cooper was behind the team that discovered WorldCom's accounting fraud.

The association's goals are to do the following:

  • Provide members with proper certification by administering the CFE exam
  • Setting industry standards by requiring mandatory recertification and continuing education
  • Developing and administering a code of ethics and conduct
  • Acting as a CFE representative
  • Providing leadership in the industry

Special Considerations

According to the ACFE website, those with the CFE designation typically earn 34% more than their counterparts who have not received the certification. Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have a separate category for fraud examiners, it does have one for financial examiners.

According to the site, these professionals review documents to detect inaccuracies and ensure that financial statements are compliant as per financial and governmental guidelines. The median annual salary for a financial examiner was $81,090 in 2019 or $38.99 per hour. The outlook for the profession is expected to grow 7% in the 10-year period between 2019 and 2029—faster than average compared to other professions.