What Certifications Are Available in Forensic Auditing?

Forensic auditors ensure financial records are accurate and detect fraud in business environments. Forensic auditors can receive certification as an internal auditor, a government auditing professional or a financial services auditor. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Auditing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Forensic Auditing Certification Overview

Forensic auditors, also sometimes called forensic accountants, use their financial skills to prevent fraud and help with criminal investigations that may include embezzlement and mismanagement. Becoming certified in this area can help you improve your likelihood of landing a job, as certification shows potential employers that you have the skills necessary to complete tasks. A number of certifications are offered by both the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Important Facts About a Forensic Accountant

Median Pay (2019) $65,537*
Work Environment Government agency, Police force, Insurance company
Key Skills Computer proficiency, Team player, Analytical thinking
Similar Occupations Financial analyst, Financial controller, Credit analyst

Source: *Payscale.com

Certified Internal Auditor

The IIA offers a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certification. CIAs evaluate and improve an organization's risk management, governance processes and control, according to the Institute of Internal Auditors.

Individuals must have at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and two years' experience to become a CIA. Alternatively, individuals can have a 2-year degree and five years' experience, or no degree and seven years' experience. Candidates must also submit a character reference form and verify their identity by providing valid documentation from a passport or national identity card. Eligible candidates must pass a three-part exam which takes approximately six and a half hours to complete. The three-part exam covers:

  • The internal audit activity's role in governance, risk and control
  • Managing internal strategic and operational functions
  • Business analysis and risk management information

Certified Government Auditing Professional

Forensic auditors can also earn IIA's Certified Government Auditing Professionals (CGAP) certification. These individuals focus on improving government services and accountability at all levels of government, including local, county, state and federal, according to the IIA.

Candidates for the CGAP certification must have a bachelor's degree, or alternatively, a 2-year degree with five years' experience. Candidates may also hold seven years of verifiable experience within the industry. Proof of identity and a character reference must also be provided prior to being allowed to take the certification exam.

The CGAP exam takes approximately three hours to complete, testing an individual's knowledge of topics such as:

  • Standards, governance and risk or control frameworks
  • Government auditing practice
  • Government auditing skills and techniques
  • Government auditing environment

Certified Financial Services Auditor

The IIA also offers a Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) certification. These auditors work in banks, insurance companies and securities organizations, according to the IIA.

CFSA candidates must have a bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience and pass the CFSA exam, which takes approximately three hours to complete. CFSA exam topics include:

  • Financial services auditing
  • Auditing financial services products
  • Auditing financial service processes
  • Regulatory environment

Certified Fraud Examiner

The ACFE offers a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) certification. In order to apply, candidates must be an associate member of ACFE. Candidates also need a bachelor's degree, or two years worth of experience can be submitted for each year of education, so someone with a 2-year degree with four years of experience is also eligible. Candidates also need two years' experience in the field. Three recommendations forms also need to be submitted.

The CFE exam consists of 500 questions administered via computer. The exam covers the following topics:

  • Fraud prevention and deterrence
  • Financial transactions and fraud schemes
  • Investigation
  • Law

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