Who We Are

Our Story

The conversation that sparked the formation of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) occurred in 1985 on an office porch in downtown Austin, Texas. During a casual exchange between ACFE founder and Chairman Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, an accountant turned FBI agent, and the foremost criminologist in the country, Dr. Donald Cressey, the ACFE began to take shape. 

At that time, fraud detection and deterrence were handled by two different groups: accountants who weren't experts in investigating fraud and investigators who weren't skilled in accounting.

"What you need to do is combine these disciplines," Cressey suggested matter-of-factly.

A few years later, Wells did just that. The culmination of these insights led to the formation of a common body of knowledge known today as fraud examination and has since bridged a gap in disciplines.

Still based out of its original headquarters in Austin, Texas, the ACFE supports more than 90,000 members in over 180 countries. Members include CPAs, auditors, lawyers, investigators, law enforcement officers, security professionals, executives, managers and anyone whose job involves preventing, detecting or deterring fraud.

The ACFE Mission

The mission of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) is to reduce the incidence of fraud and white-collar crime and to assist the membership in fraud detection and deterrence.

To accomplish our mission, the ACFE:

  • Provides bona fide qualifications for Certified Fraud Examiners through administration of the CFE Exam.
  • Sets high standards for admission, including demonstrated competence through mandatory continuing professional education.
  • Requires Certified Fraud Examiners to adhere to a strict code of professional conduct and ethics.
  • Serves as the international representative for Certified Fraud Examiners to business, government and academic institutions.
  • Provides leadership to inspire public confidence in the integrity, objectivity and professionalism of Certified Fraud Examiners.

Rules of Conduct

Our first priority is to ensure the anti-fraud profession maintains its reputation as ethical, highly professional and guided by integrity. That’s why we maintain — and enforce — our rules of conduct for Certified Fraud Examiners.  

Rules of Conduct