Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE Exam)


The term Certified Fraud Examiner refers to an award that serves as an indication of expertise in the prevention and detection of fraud.  The Certified Fraud Examiner Exam, or CFE Exam, is developed and administered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).  The purpose of the certification is to ensure individuals possess both leadership abilities as well as the skills needed to detect and prevent fraud from occurring.


The Certified Fraud Examiner Exam, or CFE Exam, refers to a program consisting of a combination of a points system and an examination.  To qualify for the CFE Exam, the candidate must be a member of the ACFE, possess 50 or more points (awarded for academic achievements and / or professional experience) and agree to abide by a code of ethics.

Candidates are awarded 40 points for possessing a bachelor's degree and five points for each year of full-time employment in a qualifying fraud-related position, including: accounting and auditing, criminology and sociology, fraud investigation, loss prevention and law.  A candidate is awarded 50 points if they hold a bachelor's degree (40 points) and have two years of job-related experience (5 points x 2 years).

The CFE Exam consists of 500 objective and true / false questions.  The examination is administered by computer and is broken down into four 125 question sections.  Examinees have 2.6 hours to complete each of the following:

  • Section I:  the focus of this section is on financial transactions and fraud schemes as well as a basic understanding of accounting policies and auditor responsibilities.
  • Section II:  the focus of this section is on statutes and common law principles as well as the traps typically encountered when conducting an investigation.
  • Section III:  the focus of this section is on the investigation process, including the tools and techniques used to gather information, conduct an examination and identify potential culprits.
  • Section IV:  the focus of this section is on fraud prevention and deterrence, including the motives behind fraud, conducting risk assessments and a code of ethics.

Candidates have 30 days to complete all four sections of the examination.  Each section must be completed in one sitting.  A score of 75% or higher is required to pass each section of the exam.  Only those candidates that fail to pass the examination are provided with their scores.  Results of the examination are mailed in three to five business days.

There is no limit to the number of times a candidate may retake an examination; however, all four sections must be passed in three consecutive attempts.

Related Terms

CFP Exam, CPA Exam, CFA Eam, CFS Exam, ChFC Exam, CIC, CIMA, CMT Exam, CLU Exam, FRM Exam