Watch the CFF® credential emerge anew in 2022!
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Watch the CFF® credential emerge anew in 2022!

11 months ago · 3 min read

Watch the CFF® credential emerge anew in 2022!
By Kari C. Day

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) established the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF®) credential in 2008. Since that time, more than 4,000 AICPA members have earned the CFF Credential through a U.S. focused, 4-step pathway.

As part of the larger Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the AICPA has seen the accounting profession undergo significant change in the area of financial forensics, with the demand for forensically trained accountants increasing worldwide. For instance, according to an Accounting Today profile, forensic accounting has consistently ranked in the top five service areas for significant growth. Specifically, in 2019, 62% of firms reported an increase of clients in litigation support and 58% reported an increase in forensics and fraud.2 Moreover, the global forensic accounting market is expected to expand at a 8.2% compounding annual growth rate, to reach 8.85 billion by 2025.

With worldwide demand on the rise, the AICPA has been tasked to take the lead in financial forensics by reorienting its U.S. focused CFF Credential toward a global audience in 2022. The topics and objectives will remain intact, with course content, exam structure, and body of knowledge naming conventions revised to accommodate the future of global forensics. In short, the existing 4-step pathway will remain a 4-step pathway. However, the structure of the courses and the exams will change. See sections below for details about (1) the new global body of knowledge, (2) the estimated timeline for revisions, and (3) how course and exam revisions fit into the same 4-step pathway for the CFF credential.

New Global Body of Knowledge

Updated in 2020, the CFF® body of knowledge is built around the foundational areas of:

  • Core Knowledge, Information, and Skills

    • Professional Standards

    • Legal Systems, Courts and Dispute Resolution

    • Laws, Regulations, and Guidance

    • Engagement Initiation and Planning

    • Information Gathering, Preservation of Evidence, and Analysis

    • Reporting and Communication of Findings

  • Core Practice Areas

    • Investigative and Fraud Risk Management

    • Litigation Services Concepts, Methodologies, and Procedures

This comprehensive and globally oriented body of knowledge will be published in 2022.
Estimated Timeline for Revisions

The new global CFF credential course content and exam revisions will be introduced in 2022. As such, we expect 2022 to be a year of transition for our existing and new CFF candidates. Shown below is an estimated timeline for the 2022 transition year, listing the old pathway resources in the left column, the NEW global pathway resources in the right, and the transition timeline in the middle.

TRANSITION YEAR: April 1, 2022 – Cutoff Date for the Old course content & exam*

Old CFF PathwayTransition TimelineNEW Global Pathway
2-part U.S. examReplace in 2022Globalized 1-part exam
2 large certificate course blocksReplace in 2022 – 202339 smaller globalized course blocks
Exam review courseReplace in 2023Globalized exam review course

*pre-existing candidates may complete current or jump to new pathway

As of April 1, 2022, the old course content and exams will no longer be available for sale. This will NOT impact pre-existing candidates who already purchased the old CFF course content or exams prior to April 1, 2022. Pre-existing candidates will have the option to either (1) complete the old CFF exams per the terms of their pre-April 1 purchases or (2) jump to the NEW global CFF exam instead. A special note for pre-existing candidates: Be sure to double check expiration dates on your exams as you progress!

The Same 4-Step Pathway to the CFF Credential

The new global pathway follows the same 4-step process for earning the CFF Credential. A detailed outline for the NEW global CFF pathway is provided below:

  • Step 1: Learning – Candidates consider their individual learning needs. The CFF Exam Review Course can help candidates prepare and counts as credit toward the required CPD. The CFF credential requires 75 hours of forensic accounting related CPD within 5 years prior to application.1

  • Step 2: Take the Exam – Candidates register with the AICPA to gain a Notice to Schedule (NTS) for taking the digital exam either proctored or with any Kryterion center worldwide. The prior CFF exam had 160 multiple-choice questions in 2 parts @ 2 hours each. The new global CFF exam has 135 multiple-choice questions in 1 part @ 4 hours.

  • Step 3: Gain Experience – Candidates refer to the CFF Handbook to determine a personal strategy to meet experience requirements. Experience may be gained via professional practice or academic employment and the CFF pathway requires 1,000 hours within 5 years of application.1

  • Step 4: Apply for Credential - When all requirements are met, candidates compile documentation of learning and experience then submit a CFF credential application online. The AICPA will notify candidates once the application has been reviewed.

In summary, much has changed since the CFF credential was launched in 2008. Though forensic accounting objectives persevere, the context in which those objectives are applied has grown global and more complex. Therefore, we recognize the need for globalization, flexibility and simplicity – both for our credential and our future CFF professionals.


https://www.aicpa.org/content/dam/aicpa/membership/join/downloadabledocuments/cff-credential-handbook.pdf
https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/the-2019-top-100-firms-new-niches-strong-clients
https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/forensic-accounting-market-2020-2024-analysis-industry-growth-current-trends-and-forecast-2020-08-5#:~:text=The%20Global%20Forensic%20Accounting%20Market,reach%208.85%20billion%20in%202025.&text=Some%20of%20the%20factors%20that,government%20agencies%20and%20accounting%20firms.

Kari C. Day, DBA|MSA|CPA|CGMA|FCPA|CFE

Dr. Kari C. Day, CPA | CGMA | FCPA | CFE is an AICPA Senior Manager for the Certified in Financial Forensics CFF® credential. She has earned four professional accounting credentials, a Master of Accountancy degree, and a Doctorate in Advance Accounting Theory with a Focus on Forensics. Kari began her career in public accounting, advancing to Senior Auditor before repositioning into higher education, earning rank and tenure as an Associate Accounting Professor in Oregon. While completing her dissertation on CPA Human Skill Competencies, she hired out as a subject matter expert and consultant for continuing professional education, university accounting programs, and course level editing and design. Kari thoroughly enjoys the creative intelligence involved in conceptual strategies for exemplary global accounting programs and worldwide proficiency for the accounting profession. It is her privilege to collaborate with friends and colleagues to promote forensic accounting awareness around the world.

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