What Is a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics (MAFF)?

A Master Analyst in Financial Forensics (MAFF) is a specialized accounting credential that certifies one's expertise in identifying financial crimes. It is offered by the Financial Forensics Institute, a subsidiary of the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA). The MAFF has number of prerequisites, including specialist accounting certifications as well as practical experience. Candidates must pass a test and then meet post-certification requirements, such as continuing education in order to maintain the credential.

Key Takeaways

  • Forensic accounting is a financial specialty that seeks to investigate and uncover embezzlement, accounting fraud, or financial crimes.
  • Because this sub-field is highly specialized and exceeds the requirements of a CPA or auditor, the Master Analyst in Financial Forensics (MAFF) designation was created.
  • Those who wish to earn the MAFF must be a member of the NACVA association and already hold a qualified accounting designation in addition to passing an rigorous exam.

Understanding a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics

Forensic accounting utilizes accounting, auditing and investigative skills to conduct an examination into the finances of an individual or business. Forensic accounting provides an accounting analysis suitable to be used in legal proceedings. Forensic accountants are trained to look beyond the numbers and deal with the business reality of a situation. Forensic accounting is frequently used in fraud and embezzlement cases to explain the nature of a financial crime in court.

Master Analyst in Financial Forensics holders have the ability to determine whether there is evidence of criminal activity by analyzing a business or organization's financial statements. MAFFs frequently work with attorneys in litigation or serve as expert witnesses in trials. The Master Analyst in Financial Forensics designation was previously called the "Certified Forensic Financial Analyst (CFFA)." Its name was changed on April 12, 2013. Anyone who previously held the CFFA certification must now use the new name.

Master Analyst in Financial Forensics Qualifications

Requirements for obtaining and maintaining the MAFF designation include educational and professional certifications, work experience, business and professional references, specialized training, an examination and ongoing education. MAFFs and prospective MAFFs must also maintain active NACVA membership.

Candidates for a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics certification must first hold one of the following certifications: CVA—Certified Valuation Analyst; ABAR—Accredited in Business Appraisal Review; ABV—Accredited in Business Valuation; ASA—Accredited Senior Appraiser; AM—Accredited Member of the ASA; CBA—Certified Business Appraiser; CBV—Chartered Business Valuator; CDFA—Certified Divorce Financial Analyst; CFA—Chartered Financial Analyst; CFE—Certified Fraud Examiner; CFF—Certified in Financial Forensics; CIRA—Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor; CMA—Certified Management Accountant; CM&AA—Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor; Cr.FA—Certified Forensic Accountant; CPA—Certified Public Accountant; CA—Chartered Accountant; MCBA—Master Certified Business Appraiser; or other accounting or financial credentials subject to NACVA approval, and a bachelor's degree in a business field from an accredited university/college or a master’s degree or doctorate in a field of business.

MAFF candidates must pass a two-part, five-hour proctored exam that follows NACVA's Financial Forensics Body of Knowledge (FFBOK). To prepare for the exam, NACVA sponsors and recommends a five-day course entitled, Financial Litigation Consulting Professionals Workshop.

MAFF candidates must choose one of the following areas of specialization:

  • Commercial Damages and Lost Profits
  • Matrimonial Litigation
  • Bankruptcy, Insolvency, and Restructuring
  • Business Valuation in Litigation
  • Business and Intellectual Property Damages
  • Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Fraud Risk Management

If candidates are lacking in professional or practical experience, they may have the option of attending a NACVA-endorsed training program. For more, see NACVA's MAFF Qualifications and its MAFF informational page.