Core and Specialized Forensic Accounting Certificate: FAQs

Requirements

Anyone can obtain the certificates. However, only active CPAs can use the certificate programs as an alternative pathway to obtain the CFF credential.

You should have foundational knowledge of forensic accounting.

There is no formal application process for this certificate program. Interested individuals can purchase the program online.

There are no specific annual requirements for maintaining your certificate. However, we anticipate that some individual courses may be updated every 1-3 years to reflect changes in the industry. For your certificate to remain current, you will need to successfully complete those updated courses. However, updates are likely to be at a fraction of the cost of the original certificate. Plus, you have access to the program for 24 months from purchase, if the courses are updated during the access period, you will have access to the updated courses at no additional cost.

Actual completion of the program is required to earn the certificate. CPE credit is being awarded for the program, and the CPE standards do not allow for “testing out of” as a way to earn credit.

You will earn the certificate (s) after completion of the required education and passing the certificate exam, an online proctored exam taken from the convenience of your home or office. Certificate exams are online and proctored remotely via webcam and audio (either laptop or USB external) anytime 7 days a week throughout the year. If you do not pass the exam the first time, one free re-take is included at no extra charge.

If continuing education is your goal, you can simply purchase and complete the education bundle or any individual course, without the certificate exam, and earn CPE. If you hold the CFF credential, there is no need to take the certificate exam.

Obtain both the Core Forensic Accounting Certificate and the Specialized Forensic Accounting Certificate on your own schedule. Take the learning associated with each certificate and pass both exams to meet the overall credential education and exam requirements. Obtaining both certificates makes you a CFF Credential Candidate; you only need to complete the experience requirement to obtain the CFF credential. For more information on the CFF credential, go to https://www.aicpa.org/cff.

Yes, you get one retake of the certificate exam at no extra cost. If you do not pass after this retake, you will need to purchase another certificate exam to take it again (includes 2 attempts as well).

Course Content

These programs are a combination of education and certificate exams that provide the opportunity to enhance forensic accounting knowledge, earn CPE credit and obtain digital badges to demonstrate your competency. They also serve as an alternative pathway to the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential.

Core Forensic Accounting Certificate - to excel in forensic accounting, you must have a solid understanding of core forensic accounting topics. Through narration by industry subject matter experts and application exercises, this certificate program covers the areas essential to the planning, performance and reporting for all forensic accounting engagements including evidence identification and gathering, discovery, interview techniques, deposition and testimony, reporting requirements and more.

Specialized Forensic Accounting Certificate - because each forensic accounting engagement is unique with its facts and objectives, the forensic accountant needs to use appropriate specialized forensic knowledge, tools and procedures during the engagement. A basic knowledge of each area is helpful. However, no one practitioner would be expected to know them all, but rather would seek expert assistance where necessary. Through narration by industry subject matter experts and application exercises, this certificate program covers unique areas of a forensic engagement including bankruptcy, business/individual/intellectual property damages, mergers and acquisitions, family law, divorce and more.

The Core and Specialized Forensic Accounting Certificate Programs have three different purposes:

  1. Certificates: You can display your competence and understanding of forensic accounting by displaying a digital badge awarded upon completion of each certificate.
  2. Education: If CPE and continuing education is your goal, you can purchase the education bundle or individual courses alone, without the certificate exam, and simply earn continuing education for your CPA license or CFF credential.
  3. Credential: If you are an active CPA desiring to obtain the CFF credential, the certificate program provides an alternative pathway to meeting the exam and education requirements. Obtaining both certificates with the education identifies you as a CFF Credential Candidate until you obtain the required experience.

This certificate program is composed of required education and the respective Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential’s Core Forensics Knowledge exam and the Specialized Forensics Knowledge exam. The required education consists of self-study online courses. The exams are online and proctored remotely via webcam and audio (either laptop or USB external) anytime 7 days a week throughout the year. Within 10 business days of completing the education, you will receive a Notice to Schedule and have the flexibility to schedule the exam(s) at your convenience. The exams are multiple choice.

Pricing

The Core Forensic Accounting Certificate Program (education and exam bundle) costs $449.00 for AICPA members, $569.00 for nonmembers. The Specialized Forensic Accounting Certificate Program (education and exam bundle) costs $699.00 for AICPA members, $879.00 for nonmembers. FVS Section Members receive an additional 20% off.

Time/Duration

Duration depends on the individual. The Core Forensic Accounting education consists of approximately 16 hours. The Specialized Forensic Accounting education consists of approximately 43 hours.

You have one year (365 days) from the date of purchase to complete the exam(s). Also, on the CPE learning, you have one year (365 days) from the date you purchase each CPE course to finish the requirements to obtain your CPE.

The certificate is not a professional credential or license, therefore they do not expire. However, we anticipate that some individual courses may be updated every 1-3 years to reflect changes in the industry. For your certificate to remain current, you will need to successfully complete those updated courses. However, updates are likely to be at a fraction of the cost of the original certificate. Plus, you have access to the program for 24 months from purchase, if the courses are updated during that period, you will have access to the updated courses at no additional cost. Completion of these updated courses will earn a new Certificate, with the current year’s date.

Other

You will receive your certificate as a digital badge. For more information on the digital badge, please see the Digital Badge FAQs.

The AICPA has the absolute and unrestricted right to revoke or suspend any rights you have to use the digital badge images, or any representation thereof, if you are (a) convicted of any crime punishable by more than one year in prison or for any crime related to dishonesty, or (b) disciplined by any governmental or non-governmental authority that regulates, or enforces a code of conduct related to, your professional activities, including but not limited to, a state board of accountancy, AICPA, IRS, SEC, or PCAOB, or (c) a peer reviewer restricted from performing peer reviews by the Peer Review Program.

No, the exam is a pass/fail exam and the raw data score is not published. You are the only one notified whether you passed or failed.

You will receive a pass/fail notice on the screen at the end of the exam, and an email copy of your exam results will be sent to you as well.

Certificate exams can be taken in the convenience of your home or office on your own computer. Since it is a web-based proctored exam, you will be required to have both a microphone and a web camera (either laptop or USB external) connected to your computer. When you schedule your exam, you will be prompted to download a proprietary security program to your computer on which the exam will be presented. You will need administrator rights to load this software on the computer.

No, CPE credit is not available for taking the certificate exams. NASBA does not allow CPE credit to be awarded for stand-alone exams. You can obtain CPE credit by completing the learning associated with each certificate.

No, they are not open book. The exams are virtually proctored via webcam to prevent using external materials.