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Professional Ethics for Fraud Examiners

On May 2, 2017, Dr. Stan Jenne of the Utah Valley University Woodbury School of Business Department of Accounting addressed the Utah ACFE Luncheon. His training was titled Professional Ethics for Fraud Examiners. Below we have summarized key concepts to remember from his training: We have a professional code of ethics to:

  1. Increase trust in Certified Fraud Examiners
  2. Protect the image of the profession
  3. Instruct members in their duties
  4. Provide an incentive to do the right thing
  5. Increase profits

Trust is required for society to function.  Without trust no transaction, no matter how basic, would be possible. “Few others … know what any given expert is up to. [They] had better be virtuous. Few may be in a position to discredit [them]. The knowledge explosion is also an ignorance explosion … Although it is possible to devise structures that limit the opportunities for the abuse of specialized knowledge, ultimately one needs to cultivate virtue in those who wield that relatively inaccessible power. … A society that rests on expertise needs more people who can pass that test.”William F. May 

ACFE Code of Professional Ethics

Members will:

  1. Demonstrate commitment to professionalism and diligence in the performance of their duties.
  2. Not engage in any illegal or unethical conduct related to conflict of interest.
  3. Exhibit the highest level of integrity in all professional assignments and accept assignments that can be completed with professional competence.
  4. Comply with lawful orders of courts and testify truthfully and without bias or prejudice.
  5. Obtain evidence or other documentation to establish a reasonable basis for any opinion rendered.  No opinion will be expressed regarding the guilt or innocence of a party.
  6. Not reveal any confidential information obtained during a professional engagement without proper authorization.
  7. Reveal all material matters discovered during the course of an examination.
  8. Increase the competence and effectiveness of professional services performed under their direction.

 CFE Code of Professional Standards

This code exists as basic principles of ethical behavior to guide members in the fulfilling of their duties and obligations.  

These principles are:

  1. Integrity and Objectivity
  2. Professional Competence
  3. Due Professional Care
  4. Understanding with Client or Employer
  5. Communication with Client or Employer
  6. Confidentiality

Standards of Examination

Fraud Examinations

  1. Legal, professional, and thorough
  2. Establish predication & scope priorities
  3. Be efficient


  1. Establish control over evidence and chain of custody.
  2. Documentation should meet needs and objectives of client or employer.

 Standards of ReportingGeneral: 

  1. Reports may be oral or written.
  2. No single structure or format exists.
  3. Reports should not be misleading.

Report Content

  1. “The report shall be confined to subject matter, principles, and methodologies within the member’s area of knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education.”
  2. “No opinion shall be expressed regarding the legal guilt or innocence of any person or party.”

 The bottom line is that most people cannot fairly evaluate what we do. High ethical standards are expected of professionals. Adherence to the code increases trust in the profession.