From the President

Job analyses and the making of the CFE Exam



Periodically, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) assembles a group of anti-fraud experts to convene for one important purpose: to decide what we’re going to put on the CFE Exam. If you’ve ever wondered how we come up with the topics we test fraud fighters on, here’s a little behind-the-scenes look at the making of the exam that credentials Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) all over the world.

Our process of determining what subjects will appear on the exam begins with a job analysis. We think it’s pretty important that fraud examiners are skilled in the latest, most-advanced topics, so every five to seven years, we meet with subject-matter experts to review what’s currently on the exam and determine whether we’re meeting the demands of the work fraud examiners do every day. Over the course of two days, this group of experts, the Job Analysis Task Force, discusses and identifies the topics they believe are essential for fraud examiners to know. Task force experts are carefully selected to ensure that they’re representative of ACFE members, their industries and roles. In April, the latest iteration of this group traveled to our headquarters in Austin, Texas, from all over the world — the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia and Germany. They represented both public and private sectors, with expertise in law, accounting, investigations, auditing and more.

During this analysis, I personally met with this group, and I can tell you they were amazing. Rather than look at determining exam topics as a chore (which a lot of task force assignments can be), they brought a high level of enthusiasm to our meetings that impressed me.

But our group isn’t limited to ACFE experts and industry-wide subject-matter experts. Prometric, the leading provider of test development services that proctors the CFE Exam, also helps us conduct this extensive job analysis. The company works with us to identify the knowledge and skills required to effectively perform and demonstrate proficiency in the fraud examination profession. The ACFE will use the findings of this job analysis to revise the current CFE Exam content outline.

The next step after the task force meeting is to send a survey of the revised list of topics to all members. We want everyone to have the chance to provide input on what skills they believe CFEs need to have.

Once we close the survey, we’ll assemble a second group of ACFE members to get feedback on the list of topics. We include some members from the first group, but we also have new people to ensure that we’re covering our bases and getting as much feedback as we can. This second task force reviews the survey results and considers each comment from our members. They make changes to the topic list that they believe are necessary to ensure that it’s complete. From there, we’ll begin developing a new and improved version of the CFE Exam. We expect this new version in late 2025 or early 2026.

And there you have it: The final product from the job analysis is a list of skills and knowledge areas CFEs should have. Things around us are constantly changing, and I’m so appreciative of our members and the ACFE staff who are continually working to make sure the CFE Exam and the CFE credential are the gold standards in the anti-fraud profession.

John D. Gill, J.D., CFE, is president of the ACFE. Contact him at President@ACFE.com.