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    I wanna know anything anyone has to say about taking the CFE instead of (not just after) the CPA!

    I am scheduled to take my first part of the CPA exam soon and I obviously have those pre-exam nerves where I'm worried I will not pass. My goal was to get the CFE after the CPA because I want to specifically work in forensic accounting or doing fraud investigation.

    I was wondering if anyone knows anyone or is that person who skipped out on the CPA and went straight for the CFE instead. Maybe you or they had the CPA and just stopped renewing the lisence or just didn't pass the CPA in 18 months and moved on to the CFE instead.

    I have 45 points already (the qualification points), I would need the experience or CPA to push me to 50+. Any tips or info would really help! Like how to get the fraud job experience without the CPA or anything else about the exam besides what's on the ACFE website!

    AUD - 83
    BEC - 78
    FAR - 76
    REG - 79
    AUD: 71, 74, 83

    BEC: 78

    FAR; 60, 76

    REG: 79



    Honestly I only know of people who get it after the CPA. Also, most people I spoke to don't respect the cert. very much. They have compared it to a high school examination that can be passed in a month. It seems to have value to signal interest or specialization after getting your CPA or CIA, but isn't so good on its own.

    AUD 83
    BEC 78
    FAR 78
    REG 74, 79

    My fraud exam. instructor has CFE as well as CPA. I know some CPAs working in forensic accounting. I doubt that they have CFE. My understanding is that CFE is an additional credential for CPAs. Without CPA, I am not sure how valuable it is.

    CPA/ MST/ Roger CPA Review

    If you skip the CPA Exam, you'll always feel insecure about not being a CPA/CFE in a world of CPA/CFEs.

    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    NINJA CPA Review

    The CPA is worth the effort. I'm six years past taking the exam and I am really glad I did it.

    The CFE requires two years of relevant experience. Plus you would need to be member and pay dues every year to hold yourself out as a CFE.

    The CPA certification in most states requires only a fee every few years (plus CPE if your firm doesn't provide it). The CPA is much less expensive to maintain than many business certifications.

    If you are interested in forensics you should check out the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) certification after you pass the CPA exam. Its offered by the AICPA. Good luck!


    I actually got my CFE before obtaining the CPA. In my career I do not think it mattered which I got first, only that I had a purpose for getting both. The most important think is to have the end goal for why you want any certification.

    It is important to remember that a CFE is not just for accountants. Many careers involving fraud examination and detection/deterrence do not require individuals to have an accounting degree. Many people have just a CFE who work insurance fraud, loss prevention, or within anti-money laundering compliance departments. In other words, the CFE can add value outside of the world forensic accounting. I believe some people interchange “fraud examination” and “forensic accounting” as one in the same, but they are different depending on the services provided.

    In any case, if you are interested in fraud I would take a close look at the CFE or the CFF as an add-on to your CPA.


    What type of work do forensic accountants do?


    I noticed that the AICPA offers this info for CFF. It seems a lot of reading in procedures, code of ethics and regulations.

    CFF Exam Content Specification Outline High Level — Outline
    I. Professional Responsibilities and Practice Management (5%–10%)
    A . AICPA
    B. CPA Professional Roles and Responsibilities in Civil and Criminal Matters
    II. Core Forensic Knowledge (30%–50%)
    A. Laws, Courts and Dispute Resolution
    B. Engagement Planning and Preparation
    C. Information Gathering, Preservation and Analysis
    D. Expert Reports & Testimony
    III. Specialized Forensic Knowledge (40%–50%)
    A. Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Reorganization
    B. Digital Forensics
    C. Damages Calculations
    D. Family Law
    E. Fraud Prevention, Detection and Response
    F. Financial Statement Misrepresentations
    G. Valuations in Litigation


    I work in law enforcement. Which primarily entails performing fraud investigations. Gathering evidence to support whether a criminal violation has been committed. Now this is just one type of forensic accounting engagement a “forensic accountant” or “fraud examiner” may perform.

    If you are eligible for CPA exam, pass it and get certified! It will open more doors for you in theforensic accounting landscape.


    I am currently studying for the CFE exam need a cheap source to download the study guide materials. Does anyone have any of the test prep materials (CFE Exam prep course, fraud examiners manual, etc.) that I can pay to study? The CFE exam website has the materials but its ridiculously expensive…Thanks!

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