Experienced CPAs with specialized skills in forensic accounting will share their knowledge and expertise in a new mentoring program announced by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).
The Certified in Financial Forensics Mentor Program is aimed at AICPA members who want to boost their knowledge and proficiency in forensic accounting. The mentors will be members who have attained the institute’s Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) credential.
The mentor program is designed “to provide guidance for CPAs who are just entering the field of forensic accounting and more experienced CPAs looking to take the next step in their forensic practice,” Robert Harris, chairman of the AICPA’s Certified Financial Forensics Credential Committee, said in a March 2014 statement.
Forensic accounting professionals work in a variety of areas, including bankruptcy and insolvency, electronic data analysis, family law, valuations, fraud prevention and computer forensics analysis. The information and data they track often is presented as legal evidence in court cases and also can be crucial to executive-level decisions regarding an organization's financial goals.
According to the AICPA’s 2011 Forensic and Valuation Services Trend Survey, the “vast majority” of forensic accounting professionals projected increasing demand for forensic services over the next five years. One-quarter of survey respondents identified “attracting and retaining qualified staff” as the top challenge facing their industry.
The AICPA reports that demand is being fueled by tighter regulations and increasing litigation.
Members of the CFF Credential Committee will pair “protégés” with mentors for one-on-one guidance tailored to the protégé’s specific needs and interests. Initially, sessions will be held at least once a quarter and will cover topics such as applying common forensic methods, management practices, setting goals and preparing for the CFF exam.
In order to attain the Certified in Financial Forensics credential, CPAs must demonstrate a high level of knowledge and skill in areas such as bankruptcy, data analysis, family law and fraud prevention. Candidates are required to have at least 1,000 hours of business experience in forensic accounting and 75 hours or more of continuing professional education (CPE) related to forensic accounting.