ACFE Professional Standards
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is an association of professionals committed to performing at the highest level of ethical conduct. Members of the Association pledge themselves to act with integrity and to perform their work in a professional manner.
Members have a professional responsibility to their clients, to the public interest and each other; a responsibility that requires subordinating self-interest to the interests of those served.
These standards express basic principles of ethical behaviour to guide members in the fulfilling of their duties and obligations. By following these standards, all Certified Fraud Examiners shall be expected, and all Associate members shall strive to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in service and professional conduct.
II. Applicability of Code
The CFE Code of Professional Standards will apply to all members and all Associate members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. The use of the word “member” or “members” in this Code will refer to Associate members, as well as regular members of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
III. Standards of Professional Conduct
- Integrity and Objectivity
- Members shall conduct themselves with integrity, knowing that public trust is founded on integrity. Members will not sacrifice integrity to serve the client, their employer or the public interest.
- Prior to accepting the fraud examination, members will investigate for potential conflicts of interest. Members will disclose any potential conflicts of interest to prospective clients who retain them or their employer.
- Members will maintain objectivity in discharging their professional responsibilities within the scope of the engagement.
- Members will not commit discreditable acts, and will always conduct themselves in the best interests of the reputation of the profession.
- Members shall not knowingly make a false statement when testifying in a court of law or other dispute resolution forum. Members will comply with lawful orders of the courts or other dispute resolution bodies. Members will not commit criminal acts or knowingly induce others to do so.
- Professional Competence
- Members will be competent and will not accept assignments where this competence is lacking. In some circumstances, it may be possible to meet the requirement for professional competence by use of consultation or referral.
- Members will maintain the minimum program of continuing professional education required by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. A commitment to professionalism combining education and experience will continue throughout the member’s professional career. Members will continually strive to increase the competence and effectiveness of their professional services.
- Due Professional Care
- Members will exercise due professional care in the performance of their services. Due professional care requires diligence, critical analysis and professional skepticism in discharging professional responsibilities.
- Conclusions will be supported with evidence that is relevant, competent and sufficient.
- Members’ professional services will be adequately planned. Planning controls the performance of a fraud examination from inception through completion and involves developing strategies and objectives for performing the services.
- Work performed by assistants on a fraud examination will be adequately supervised. The extent of supervision required varies depending on the complexities of the work and the qualifications of the assistants.
- Understanding with Client or Employer
- At the beginning of a fraud examination, members will reach an understanding with those retaining them (client or employer) about the scope and limitations of the fraud examination and the responsibilities of all parties involved.
- Whenever the scope or limitations of a fraud examination or the responsibilities of the parties change significantly, a new understanding will be reached with the client or employer.
- Communication with Client or Employer
- Members will communicate to those who retained them (client or employer) significant findings made during the normal course of the fraud examination.
- Members will not disclose confidential or privileged information obtained during the course of the fraud examination without the express permission of proper authority or order of a court. This requirement does not preclude professional practice or investigative body reviews as long as the reviewing organisation agrees to abide by the confidentiality restrictions.
IV. Standards of Examination
- Fraud Examinations
- Fraud examinations will be conducted in a legal, professional and thorough manner. The fraud examiner’s objective will be to obtain evidence and information that is complete, reliable and relevant.
- Members will establish predication and scope priorities at the outset of a fraud examination and continuously reevaluate them as the examination proceeds. Members will strive for efficiency in their examination.
- Members will be alert to the possibility of conjecture, unsubstantiated opinion and bias of witnesses and others. Members shall consider both exculpatory and inculpatory evidence.
- Members will endeavor to establish effective control and management procedures for documents. Members will be cognizant of the chain of custody including origin, possession and disposition of relevant evidence and material. Members shall strive to preserve the integrity of relevant evidence and material.
- Members’ work product may vary with the circumstances of each fraud examination. The extent of documentation will be subject to the needs and objectives of the client or employer.
V. Standards of Reporting
- Members’ reports may be oral or written, including fact witness and/or expert witness testimony, and may take many different forms. There is no single structure or format that is prescribed for a member’s report; however, the report should not be misleading.
- Report Content
- Members’ reports will contain only information based on data that are sufficient and relevant to support the facts, conclusions, opinions and/or recommendations related to the fraud examination. The report will be confined to subject matter, principles and methodologies within the member’s area of knowledge, skill, experience, training or education.
- No opinion will be expressed regarding the legal guilt or innocence of any person or party.