Definition of Certified Insolvency And Restructuring Accountant (CIRA)

Certified Insolvency And Restructuring Accountant (CIRAA) is a professional certification available to forensic accountants. To become certified, candidates must pass a rigorous board exam. The CIRA designation provides both additional training and professional recognition for certficants.

Understanding Certified Insolvency And Restructuring Accountant (CIRA)

CIRA candidates must have previous experience with both insolvency and reorganization accounting. The exam is broken down into three parts. The first is financial reporting and taxes, the second is managing turnaround and bankruptcies and the final part involves plan development and accounting.

Certification Requirements

In 1992, the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors (AIRA) "established the Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor program to recognize by public awareness and certification those individuals who possess a high degree of knowledge and proficiency across a spectrum of functions related to serving clients in situations involving distressed and/or insolvent entities. Such expertise includes accounting, operations, strategic, taxation and finance issues related to business bankruptcy and insolvency."

AIRA lists the following requirements for the certification: 

"Completion of course of study and passing exam—all 3 parts of the course of study and uniform written examination must be successfully completed within a 3-year period of the date of the first course taken. 

Professional and Ethical Conduct—uphold the Code of Professional and Ethical Conduct as well as all requirements and standards stated in the Bylaws and other determinations by the Certification Committee and Board of Directors.

Five years of Accounting/Financial Experience—may be completed after entering the program. Information about professional experience provided on the initial CIRA Registration & Application Form will be counted toward this requirement; additional experience, if needed, to fulfill this requirement after entering the program must be reported to the CIRA Director. Relevant experience includes public accounting, crisis management, financial or operational consulting, investment banking, claims management, credit management, loan workout or applicable government experience (e.g., financial analyst with Office of U.S. Trustee, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation, FBI, SBA). 

4,000 hours of Specialized Experience—candidates must complete 4,000 hours of specialized, diverse and relevant distressed business experience* (see detail below) within an 8 -year period ending no earlier than, or starting no later than, the date of passing all 3 exams. *At least 2 case studies are required. Whether or not a candidate’s experience satisfies the specialized experience requirement is subject to the Certification Committee’s judgment. Before or at any time during the program, candidates may request the Committee to evaluate the extent to which the experience requirement is satisfied. 

Three Confidential Character and Experience References—attesting to candidate’s character, professional experience, and specialized and/or diverse expertise with respect to distressed businesses, restructuring and/or insolvency matters. Only one letter of reference may be from the current employer and that letter must be from a current supervisor."