Certified Financial Examiner Certification and Career

A career as a Certified Financial Examiner (CFE) could offer you the chance to understand financial markets while helping firms understand the regulatory issues behind specific transactions. Keep reading to learn about education and certification requirements for this job and get the career outlook. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A financial examiner is a third-party professional who analyzes financial data to make sure all rules and regulations are being followed by institutions. Financial examiners usually work for federal and state governments, checking the legal status of financial and securities interactions between businesses. However, many financial examiners work for brokerage firms and act as third-party mediators, seeing if any federal or state regulations are missed from transactions.

Degrees Bachelor's degree in accounting
Certification Certifications available through the Society of Financial Examiners include the Accredited Financial Examiner, Certified Financial Examiner and Automated Examination Specialist designations
Salary (2017)* $81,690 per year (Median salary for financial examiners)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is the Certification Process?

According to the Society of Financial Examiners (SFE), to become a Certified Financial Examiner, you must first be an Accredited Financial Examiner (AFE). To become an Accredited Financial Examiner, five prerequisites are required. The first is that you must have a bachelor degree in accounting or have a financial bachelor's degree with credits in business law, auditing, introductory accounting and intermediate accounting. The second requirement is to pass all four AFE exams, which cover:

  • Life and health insurance
  • Property and liability insurance
  • Accounting property insurance
  • Accounting life insurance

The third and fourth requirements include two years of work experience within the insurance industry and having a good personal or professional standing with the SFE. Finally, you must provide a full application to the Society of Financial Examiners.

Once your credential of Accredited Financial Examiner is completed or in process, you may take the three required certification exams to become a CFE, which include management and examiner methods, analysis and evaluation methods, and reinsurance policies. For certification, an extra year of insurance work for a total of three years is required and you must prove you have three semester credits for a management class in your college transcript.

What Are My Career Prospects?

Financial examiners work as either part of a research team or research independently while investigating all pertinent financial data between clients or firms. Often, you or your group has the authority or requires further authority to demand more financial information from firms, especially if you are working for the government. Legal and regulatory details must be followed and understood completely in order for you or your examiner team to assess the transaction in question. You have the authority to make or break large financial deals between firms if you calculate or assess that there is not enough information or if the financial figures do not add up.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for financial examiners as of 2017 is $81,690. The same source reported that the highest level of financial examiners were employed in credit intermediation and related activities, and Washington D.C. paid the highest average salary to financial examiners in the country, with an annual mean wage of $155,400.

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