ACFCS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Why should you become a Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS)?
You may be wondering: “What does a Certified Financial Crime Specialist (CFCS) do that is different than others in the field?”
The CFCS certification responds to one of the most critical and timely trends in the field – the need for crime detection and prevention professionals with a broader, more unified understanding of financial crime that is not limited to one specific area, like fraud, money laundering, or corruption. Financial institutions, government agencies, and law enforcement organizations are increasingly moving away from a “siloed” approach and are seeking to leverage shared tools, techniques, and expertise between a wide variety of financial crime disciplines. The CFCS credential helps verify knowledge and skills across the financial crime spectrum, improving results and preparing compliance professionals and other experts in the field for this emerging best practice.
What are the advantages of being CFCS-certified?
The CFCS credential is increasingly sought after. It is obtained by professionals who serve the world’s largest financial institutions, government agencies, law enforcement organizations, and service providers in the US and globally in over 80 countries. By earning a CFCS certification, individuals demonstrate they are prepared to address a wide range of financial crime threats, and organizations demonstrate a commitment to a higher standard in financial crime detection and prevention to help formulate better financial crime compliance.
What is the difference between the CFCS credential and other certifications?
The CFCS credential is the most comprehensive certification in the financial crime detection and prevention field. Whereas other credentials typically focus on only one area, the CFCS certification covers 12 key topics, providing validation of knowledge throughout a wide range of financial crime understanding. This broad-based approach enables individuals who become certified financial crime specialists (CFCS) to confront a variety of financial crime risks. The CFCS credential also promotes flexibility in career paths, and allows specialists to assist organizations with defying emerging threats.
I currently hold another certification, should I also obtain my CFCS credential?
What types of individuals and organizations obtain the CFCS certification?
How do you become a certified financial crimes investigator? The answer is by obtaining the CFCS credential, which is based on international best practices and designed to benefit both the public and private sectors. Professionals at 15 of the world’s 20 largest financial institutions hold the CFCS certification, along with regulatory agencies, law enforcement, and non-financial corporations. There are CFCS-certified individuals in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. The certification is a particularly good fit for professionals that require a broad-based view into financial crime, such as analysts, investigators, and roles in financial intelligence units.
What is ACFCS?
The Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) specializes in providing modern financial crime prevention certification and training. Learn more about our who we are.
What is included in the CFCS Certification package?
CFCS exam candidates receive in-depth training materials that cover the diverse financial crime landscape, from more established areas like fraud and money laundering, to recent hot topics such as cybersecurity, anti-corruption and tax evasion, as well as law enforcement. The CFCS Certification
Package includes the following:
CFCS Exam Study Manual
Online CFCS Exam Prep Webinars
CFCS Exam Practice Test
CFCS Exam fee
CFCS 1-Year Membership
How much does the CFCS Certification package cost?
The CFCS exam requires comprehensive materials, online training, and more. With all that is included,
the CFCS Certification Package costs are offered at a value of:
$1,245 for Private Sector
$920 for Government
What is the procedure for scheduling and taking the CFCS exam?
The CFCS exam is offered on an ongoing basis throughout the year through the Online Proctored (OLP) network from Kryterion. You will be able to sit for the exam from the convenience of your own home on a date and time of your choosing.
How many questions are on the CFCS exam?
There are 145-scenario based, multiple-choice questions on the CFCS exam that deal with financial crime detection, prevention, financial crime compliance and other areas of expertise.
How long does the CFCS exam take?
Candidates have four hours allotted to complete the CFCS exam.
What if I did not pass the exam?
Candidates can retake the CFCS exam after a 60-day waiting period, accompanied by a $175 retesting fee. Even if you don’t initially, our exam prep materials can help you with improving results.
After obtaining my CFCS credentials, am I an ACFCS member?
Yes! Your initial CFCS exam fees include your first one-year ACFCS membership. However, they do
require an annual renewal to maintain a status of good standing.
CFCS Certification Renewal
How do I obtain my CFCS Certification credit hours?
Accumulating credit hours for your CFCS credential can be obtained through many avenues, such as:
Professional Experience: hours worked directly in the scope of financial crime.
Training: ACFCS online training, webinars, conferences, and/or through reputable third-party organizations.
Education: includes degrees earned and credits for other professional certifications in the financial crime detection, prevention, and compliance fields.
What is the recertification process and cost?
Every 3 years you must demonstrate:
- 60 credits
- Private/Standard: $150
- Government: $115
Do you accept late recertification applications?
Yes. ACFCS will accept recertification applications up to three (3) months after the recertification deadline has passed. Please email any completed forms to the Certification Department at certification@ACFCS.org. The fee for late recertification submissions is $200, which can be paid online or through an ACFCS account representative. Applicants may contact the Certification Department with questions at (786) 530-8231.
Will you ever deny recertification and can I lose my CFCS credential?
CFCS-certified members who fail to submit their applications by the recertification deadline or have not maintained an active ACFCS membership through the duration of their certification cycle will be denied. Applicants would be required to retake the CFCS examination to recertify.
The only exceptions that apply are due to these extenuating circumstances:
Loss of employment.
Illness of either the applicant or an immediate family member.
Deployment for active duty in the armed forces.
Those with any of the above prospective extenuating circumstances should contact the Certification
Department to discuss an extension. Applicants who are granted an extension will receive a 12-month
grace period for recertification. Applicants who are denied recertification and do not recertify through
examination are required to discontinue using the CFCS credential.
See What Certified Financial Crime Specialists Are Saying
"The CFCS tests the skills necessary to fight financial crime. It's comprehensive. Passing it should be considered a mark of high achievement, distinguishing qualified experts in this growing specialty area."
KENNETH E. BARDEN
"It's a vigorous exam. Anyone passing it should have a great sense of achievement."
(CFCS, Official Superior
de Cumplimiento Cidel
Bank & Trust Inc. Nueva York)
"The exam tests one's ability to apply concepts in practical scenarios. Passing it can be a great asset for professionals in the converging disciplines of financial crime."
(CFCS, Royal Band of
"The Exam is far-reaching. I love that the questions are scenario based. I recommend it to anyone in the financial crime detection and prevention profession."
(CFCS, CAMS Lead Compliance
Trainer, FINRA, Member Regulation
Training, Washington, DC)
"This certification comes at a very ripe time. Professionals can no longer get away with having siloed knowledge. Compliance is all-encompassing and enterprise-driven."
CFCS, CAMS, CFE, CSAR
Director, Global Risk
& Investigation Practice
FTI Consulting, Los Angeles