There is much more to earning the CFE credential than simply adding three new letters after your name. It is what those letters mean to you, your employers and your colleagues that make the accomplishment so profound. I imagine they mean something different for everyone: hard work, expertise, drive, commitment, knowledge, insight — the list could go on and on. And, as we have found in our 2015/2016 Compensation Guide for Anti-Fraud Professionals, they also mean a 23% salary premium.
It is a unique opportunity for us to see the tangible and intangible benefits of earning the CFE credential. Because satisfaction and career development are intangible items, we often don't have a specific way to measure the true impact earning the credential has on someone's life, both professionally and personally.
But, with our new Compensation Guide, and stories like Mara McLaughlin's told below, we can capture what it looks and feels like to not only increase your salary, but your worth.
I hope you find the information from the Compensation Guide as interesting and enlightening as I do. Most importantly, thank you to Mara and all who submitted data for this study — this would not have been possible without you.
James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO
Becoming a CFE suddenly became a necessity rather than a goal due to major life changes that brought me to where I am today. In 2007 I was doing consulting work and married with four young kids when my life drastically changed. Due to tough circumstances and a divorce in the years that followed I was suddenly faced with financial hardship and the reality that I needed to become the primary provider for my family. With the support of colleagues and an incredible network of family and friends my journey began, and, although it was the toughest time of my life, I learned some of the most important lessons my lifetime will bring.
I learned the importance of remaining positive, having faith and letting go of the little things. I also learned to graciously accept the help that so many kind people offered me. I remember being unable to afford the CFE Exam package but knowing the impact it would have on my career. I contacted the ACFE and asked them if they could help me as I told them about my struggles. The ACFE allowed me to study and submit payments intermittently throughout the course of the next year, and I eventually earned the credential in 2010. Two months after becoming a CFE I was hired as an investigator with the New York State Department of Labor before transferring to my current position at a different New York State agency. Earning the CFE credential proved to be invaluable in so many ways.
I became an advocate in helping colleagues, recent college graduates, and anyone struggling through tough times to recognize their abilities and the impact the CFE credential could have on their lives. Although I secured the CFE credential under extreme circumstances it was undoubtedly one of the best decisions I made throughout my journey. Not only did it greatly impact my career, but some of the most special people I've met during recent years are fellow CFEs who always made the time when I reached out for guidance. The kindness of colleagues continues to be immeasurable.
-Mara McLaughlin, CFE, Senior Investigator, New York State Insurance Fund
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