If you’ve always wanted to work alongside Judge Judy, here’s your chance.

Whether they’re actually in the courtroom or not (and they often are), forensic accountants are the CPAs who companies call when they’re going to court over financial matters. That means fraud, bankruptcy, misrepresented financial statements – juicy stuff. And as a forensic accountant, it’s your job to help get to the bottom of everything.

CPAs who specialize in forensic accounting are marked by their CFF credentials – Certified in Financial Forensics. If you think you want to pursue a career in forensic accounting, you should start preparing for earning your CFF now.

What it really means

The CFF is an official designation for CPAs who specialize in forensic accounting. Having your CFF means you’re a premier provider of forensic accounting services – no small thing considering the rise in demand for forensic accountants, fueled by increased awareness of the CFF designation and a spike in fraud and litigation. As a forensic accountant, you’ll be called on to help in investigations involving everything from bankruptcy and computer forensics to fraud prevention and family law. You’ll be the one tracking down suspicious transactions and piecing together the story using electronic and paper records – and your skills as a CPA.

There are other certification programs for forensic accountants. But only the CFF is awarded by the AICPA.

Is this for you?

A lot of CPAs are drawn to the profession because they’re naturally curious people – ask them why they enjoy what they do, and many will tell you that they love figuring out puzzles. Forensic accountants go a step further, building their entire careers around the process of investigation.

If you’re the type who just can’t shake the childhood fantasy of becoming a private investigator, forensic accounting may be for you. It can put you at the very center of big legal disputes, and in some cases it can land you on the witness stand. And if you want to be a forensic CPA, the CFF can help advance your career, fast.

How to make it happen

Only CPAs can earn the CFF credential. And it’s not something you can get immediately upon becoming a CPA – you’ll need to work in the industry for a few years first. Here’s exactly what you’ll need:

  • Five years of experience as a practicing CPA
  • Specific experience in the area of forensic accounting
  • Lifelong learning credits in forensic accounting – as in continuing education courses and published articles on the subject
  • A passing score on the CFF exam

While it all may sound like a lot, the truth is that once you go into forensic accounting, you’ll start to rack up a lot of these requirements as your career advances. The key is making sure that when it comes time to enter it all into your CFF application, you’ve covered all the right ground. For more information about eligibility and the CFF exam, check out aicpa.org/cff.

All this criminal stuff a little too CSI Miami for you? See what other specializations you can choose from with our Find Your Fit tool.