Forensic, fraud and financial litigation support continue to remain among the hottest niche practice areas for the profession. With expected growth over the next several years, these areas will provide both career opportunities for CPAs and business opportunities for firms.

To help CPAs build expertise in these areas, the AICPA created the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program, a comprehensive interactive continuing professional education program that will provide you with a solid understanding of financial forensics.

With the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program, discover best practices for producing work products that will withstand the type of scrutiny encountered in a courtroom, boardroom or other administrative venue. This certificate program provides forensic knowledge pertaining to laws, courts and dispute resolution, and basic federal and state rules of evidence. You’ll also gain insight into the planning and preparation requirements for a variety of unique forensic engagements.

3 Stages in the Forensic Accounting Career

No matter what stage you're in, this certificate program serves three primary roles in the forensic accountant's career:

  1. Develop. Provides an introduction to financial forensics
    The program covers the forensic accountant’s professional responsibility, fundamental knowledge of the legal system and how to plan and prepare a forensic engagement, conduct expert testimony and more.

  2. Continue. Prerequisite learning for the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF®) Credential
    This program can be leveraged toward the 75-hour credential education requirement. It provides an understanding of the seven areas of the CFF credential, including:
    • Bankruptcy, insolvency and reorganization
    • Computer forensic analysis
    • Economic damages calculations
    • Family law
    • Financial statement misrepresentation
    • Fraud prevention, detection and response
    • Valuation

  3. Renew. Ongoing Education for CFF Credential Holders
    This certificate program can be used to meet a portion of your triennial CPE maintenance requirement.

Upon completion of the program, you’ll be awarded with a Certificate of Achievement and earn a total of 21.5 CPE credits!


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Course Preview

Each course within the program has interactive, scenario-based learning, including audio and video animation to guide you through the concepts.

Course Listing

The Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program is comprised of individual online course modules. Earn CPE credits as you go! Each module allows you to earn CPE credits - a great way to fulfill CPE reporting requirements and earn a valuable certificate at the same time.


AICPA Guidance for the Forensic Engagement(1 CPE Credit)
Provides an overview of the professional standards and conduct considerations that all CPAs who work as forensic accountants must adhere to. Guidance of both an authoritative and non-authoritative nature is explained.


Understanding the Forensic Accountant Role(1.5 CPE Credits)
Explains the difference between a traditional auditor and forensic accountant, lists the characteristics of a forensic account, and describes the possible role a forensic accountant can have during a client engagement.


Understanding the Basic Structure of the Legal System(1 CPE Credit)
Provides an overview of the legal, judicial, and regulatory environment in which a forensic accountant may practice. We will introduce you to the basics of civil and criminal laws, dispute resolution, and federal and state rules of evidence and procedure. The course also provides an overview of the federal and state courts and an introduction to other applicable laws, regulations, guidance, and agencies relative to the work of the forensic accountant.


Managing the Forensic Engagement(1 CPE Credit)
Covers how to plan and prepare for a financial forensic engagement. Topics include considerations when accepting an engagement, defining the terms of the engagement, working with attorneys, and identifying and managing resources.


Identifying and Obtaining Evidence(1 CPE Credit)
Provides an overview of evidence identification and collection during legal matters and independent investigations. It includes the various duties a forensic accountant can be asked to provide for a client. Also reviewed is where evidence (both paper and electronic) can be found and how it should be treated and processed.


Conducting Effective Interviews(1 CPE Credit)
Gives an explanation of the professional standards that govern investigative interviews and the methodical approaches and investigative techniques a forensic accountant should take to effectively perform these interviews.


Common Investigative Techniques(1 CPE Credit)
Explores some of the specific approaches a forensic accountant should take in a fraud investigation. The seven investigative techniques, the fraud triangle, and investigative pitfalls are discussed. Analytical procedures are explained including the tracing of cash and assets, financial statement analysis, and insider training analysis.


Deposition and Testimony(1 CPE Credit)
Explains the critical differences between the roles of consultants and testifying experts in the field of forensic accounting, while also outlining the differences in depositions and courtroom testimony. Learn how to avoid the mistakes of inexperienced experts and prepare, present, and deliver effective deposition testimony.


Reporting Requirements & Preparing Sustainable Reports(1 CPE Credit)
Covers the reporting requirements and professional standards that you will need to know in order to create an effective, accurate, and sustainable report.


Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Reorganization(1 CPE Credit)
Provides a high-level overview of bankruptcy and the roles of forensic accountants that work with bankruptcy engagements. The overview employs three different scenarios to give learners a broad understanding of the field.


Leveraging Technology in Forensic Engagements(1 CPE Credit)
Explains the role of technology in supporting the forensic accountant during a customer engagement, including the challenges encountered when providing such services. The process to locate or find Electronically Stored Information (ESI) is described along with the technologies and methodologies that can be used to evaluate and analyze the data once acquired. The goal of the course is to help the practitioner understand the process, considerations, and available technology tools needed to examine electronically stored information and data when investigating fraud.


Economic Damages in Business(1.5 CPE Credits)
Provides an overview of the different methods used to analyze and quantify economic damages in business. The learner will be introduced to the role of the financial forensics professional in analyzing claims for economic damages, as well as the professional and legal standards that apply to this work.


Economic Damages for Individuals: A CPA’s Role(1 CPE Credit)
Covers the applicable professional standards, underlying components for calculating economic damages for individuals, and legal issues related to economic damages.


Economic Damages for Individuals: Case Studies and Analysis(1 CPE Credit)
Provides practice in calculating economic damages for individuals using case studies. You will apply theory and methodology for calculating economic damages to common scenarios you will encounter when performing forensic accounting services.


Calculating Intellectual Property Infringement Damages(1 CPE Credit)
Provides an overview of the four types of intellectual property and the potential damages associated with infringements of each type. It includes an introduction to the laws governing intellectual property and guidance for calculating infringement damages for each type of intellectual property.


Family Law Engagements(1 CPE Credit)
Gives a high-level overview of the divorce process and the roles of forensic accountants who work on the financial aspects of divorce cases. The overview employs two different situations to give learners a broad understanding of the field and what is expected.


Fraud Prevention, Detection, and Response(1.5 CPE Credits)
Describes the techniques typically employed to prevent, detect and investigate fraud within the organization. Topics include the impact of fraud on business and society, common profiles of fraud perpetrators, types of fraud schemes, fraud triangle, risk issues, corporate governance, and fraud risk assessment and process controls. The relevant components and steps of a prepared report are explained as well as the implementation of a remediation process and related plan of action.


Financial Statement Fraud and Asset Misappropriation(1 CPE Credit)
Covers some of the issues that allow financial statement fraud to occur, including a lack of adequate internal controls over the accounting processes, management overrides of internal controls, and pressure to achieve specific financial results. Frequent types of financial statement fraud are explained as well as how internal investigations are often triggered and evidence is collected by a forensic accountant in an investigation. Common types of internal and external asset misappropriation are identified in addition to relevant case studies profiling common fraud schemes.


Valuations in Litigation Matters(2 CPE Credits)
Provides an overview of the procedures and considerations for beginning a valuation engagement for litigation purposes. You will be introduced to approaches and methods for valuations, as well as learn how to develop a common groundwork for preparing depositions and court testimony.



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See what others are saying about this certificate program!


“This program is great. It covers all of the appropriate areas needed. I would encourage anyone interested in forensic accounting to get this certificate.”
-KATHY L., CPA, MARIANNA, FL

"This course is a great way to expand your horizons and get an in-depth feel for what Forensic Accounting is and what it entails."
- WILLIAM T., CPA, WESTMONT, IL

FAQs

1. What is the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program?
Developed by the AICPA, this certificate program is specially designed to help accountants and others 1) build the knowledge needed to gain a basic understanding of the field of forensic accounting, 2) earn CPE credits needed to meet the 75-hour education requirement for the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential, or 3) earn CPE credits needed to maintain the CFF credential.

2. Why should I participate?
Certificate holders will learn or be refreshed on the core material in professional standards that applies to forensic engagements. The program provides participants with a solid understanding of how to work within the court system when engaged as a forensic accountant. With information provided by subject matter experts from each of the specialization areas, participants are provided first-hand knowledge that guides them through solid investigation, documentation, reporting and other required skills. A series of 20 courses takes you through the "best practices" styles for performing an engagement. These knowledge and skills are necessary for an accountant and others who are considering entering or are already in the field of forensic accounting.

3. Is the certificate program available to both CPAs and other accounting professionals who are not CPAs?
Yes. The courses that comprise the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program curriculum are available for CPAs, CAs and other accounting professionals who do not have one of these credentials or their equivalent.

4. What level of knowledge should I possess prior to starting the certificate program?
All individuals pursuing the Forensic Accounting Certificate of Achievement should possess a base knowledge of AICPA Auditing Standards.

5. What course topics are included in the curriculum?
The certificate program includes a 19 required modules, including: 3 Fundamental modules, 6 Forensic Engagement modules, and 10 Specialized Knowledge modules. In total, the program provides 21.5 CPE hours at a basic level. Visit AICPAStore.com/forensic for a list of modules included in the program. All modules will be approximately 50-minutes long and provide individual CPE credit upon successful completion of the end-of-module exam. Some modules may be longer than 50 minutes, as required by the depth or complexity of the content, with a maximum length of 2 hours.

6. How long will it take me to complete all of courses of the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program?
This varies from individual to individual and is completely dependent upon the time the participant allocates to completing the coursework. There is a commitment of 21.5 required hours to successfully complete the program.

7. What period of time do I have to complete the entire curriculum?
Once you enter the program you have twenty-four (24) months from the date of purchase. You are encouraged to complete the program within a twelve (12) month period or less.

8. Once I complete the curriculum and obtain my Forensic Accounting Certificate of Achievement, is there a time period for which it is "active?"
No. The Forensic Accounting Certificate is not a professional credential or license. It is evidence of successful completion of a required course curriculum as of a point in time. As a result, it has no period for which it is deemed "active" or in-force.

9. Am I required to obtain a certain number of CPE credits annually for the certificate to remain current and active?
No. The Forensic Accounting Certificate of Achievement is not a professional credential or license. It is evidence of successful completion of a required course curriculum as of a point in time. As a result, it has no period for which it is deemed "active" or in-force.

10. If I am a CPA, will I receive CPE credit toward my CPA license if I take this program?
Yes, all of the courses in the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program will qualify for CPE credit. The AICPA is a NASBA-approved provider of CPE.

11. How many credits of CPE will I receive if I earn the certificate?
Completing the curriculum will result in earning 21.5 credits. All of these credit hours will qualify for CPE credit and can count toward meeting your state's CPE requirements.

12. Will the CPE credit satisfy my requirements for CMA, CIA or other certifications?
The courses in the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program will be classified as Accounting for purposes of granting CPE credits. As with other AICPA courses that are approved for other certifications, we fully expect the Forensic Accounting Certificate courses will satisfy those requirements. To be certain, please check with the organization that issues your CMA, CIA or other certifications.

13. If I am unable to complete the entire Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program, will I receive CPE credit for the courses I do complete?
Yes. The courses are offered individually, so you will earn NASBA QAS CPE credit for each course you take and successfully complete the exam. You are not required to complete the entire program to earn CPE credit. However, you must successfully complete the exam for all required courses in the entire program in order to receive the Forensic Accounting Certificate of Achievement.

14. I have prior experience in working with forensic accounting. Will I be allowed to test out of certain courses while still earning the certificate?
Actual completion of the courses is required to earn the Forensic Accounting Certificate. CPE credit will be awarded for the courses, and the CPE standards do not allow for "testing out of" a course as a way to earn credit.

15. Is the entire program fixed, or are their elective courses I can select from in earning the certificate?
The curriculum for the Forensic Accounting Certificate is fixed. It is designed to provide participants with a solid understanding of knowledge required to perform forensic accounting engagements. In order to receive the Forensic Accountant Certificate of Achievement all required modules must be completed.

16. If I register and pay for the entire program, and subsequently find that I cannot complete it, will I receive a partial refund?
We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with the program; however, program fees will be refunded on a pro-rata basis and, if there are courses where the exam has been completed and CPE credit has been granted, the full retail value for the course(s) will be deducted from the refund amount. The program is designed for maximum efficiency for the learner. The modules are available in e-learning, allowing the individual to schedule training at their convenience. And, while the recommended time for completion is twelve months, the maximum time for completion is two years. These features should make it easy for an individual to complete the program.

17. What are the systems requirements for the e-learning portion of the program?
Please review the information on the System Requirements tab for this product for complete information on minimum operating system and browser requirements.

18. How much does the program cost?
The cost to complete the entire program depends on whether you are a member of the AICPA or a non-member. All fees are payable upon registration.
• Program fees, AICPA: $549.00
• Program fees, non-member: $685.00
• Program fees, FVS Section member $439.00

19. I am already proficient in forensic accounting but would like to learn more about a few select topics that are specific to my job. Can I purchase individual titles in the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program separately?

Yes. Courses in the Certificate Program may be purchased individually. If you decide that you would like to enroll in the full Certificate Program after purchasing one or more individual courses, credit for those courses may be applied to the purchase amount of the full program as long as they have been purchased within one year of enrolling in the full program. Please call the AICPA service center at 888.777.7077 for more information.

20. Can credits earned in the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program be applied towards the 75-hour minimum CPE requirement to apply for the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) Credential?
Yes. Courses in the Certificate Program can be applied toward the requirement to apply for the credential as well as the ongoing education requirement.

21. When will I receive a hard copy of my certificate?
You will receive your certificate in the mail 6-8 weeks after completing the program.

Discounts & Group Training

FVS Section Members Save an Additional 20%!
Enroll in the Fundamentals of Forensic Accounting Certificate Program and save over $100 today!

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Purchasing multiple enrollments for your organization?
Discounts are available for 3 or more people from your organization. Call 800.634.6780 (option 1) for information on a discounted rate.

NOTE: If you wish to enroll FVS Section members in your group purchase, you must speak with a representative to ensure that section discounts are applied.

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Membership & Credentials

AICPA Forensic and Valuation Services Membership Section
This AICPA voluntary membership section is for CPAs who provide advice, technical assistance and consulting services to businesses, non-profits and government organizations. Take advantage of invaluable networking opportunities and share ideas and experiences with other CPAs in the field.

Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) Credential
The CFF credential is granted exclusively to CPAs who demonstrate considerable expertise in forensic accounting through their knowledge, skills, and experience. The credits earned in the Forensic Accounting Certificate Program can be applied to the 75-hour education requirement for the CFF Credential.