ACFE compensation guide: CFEs earn 34% more than non-certified colleagues

Fraud is a global problem, so companies worldwide continue to value experienced anti-fraud professionals.

The recently released 2020 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals, a members-only resource, shows that CFEs continue to earn a significant premium over those without the credential. The survey found that CFEs earn 34% more than their non-certified counterparts.

Based on participant responses, the median total compensation for a CFE is $95,937 — compared to $71,809 for a non-CFE. This exemplifies that recognition as an expert in the anti-fraud field increasingly correlates to a significantly higher level of compensation.

Here are other findings from the report:

  • Banking and financial services, and government and public administration were the top two represented industries by respondents. CFEs in those industries earned a 35% and 28% premium, respectively.
  • The most represented job function by respondents was “auditor internal,” in which CFEs earned a 23% premium over non-certified individuals in that category.
  • In the U.S., CFEs in the Northwest U.S. region reported the highest salary premiums, earning 46% more than non-CFEs.
  • More than 38% of respondents were outside the U.S., which matches the previous survey as the largest sampling ever. CFEs in Africa/Middle East earned the highest premium at 63%.
  • The largest group of fraud-related experience was with professionals having 10 to 19 years of experience. This group also represented the largest CFE premium of more than 26%.

“With more than 5,000 responses to the survey, this report is an invaluable tool to measure how your compensation compares to anti-fraud professionals around the world,” says Ross Pry, CFE, director of membership at the ACFE.

“The report shows that earning the CFE early in your career can have a dramatic impact on the total amount you earn during your professional life,” Pry says. For example, if an anti-fraud professional earned the CFE credential at age 25, is continuously employed from age 25 to 65 and makes the relevant median salary for each age range, they could earn an extra $647,828 in their entire career, he says.

The Compensation Guide website will again include a salary calculator, which makes it easy to evaluate where you stand in relation to your colleagues in the profession. Users can create individualized reports by selecting qualifying factors such as industry, job function and level of responsibility.

The 2020 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals is available for download as a PDF for ACFE members only at

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