Since we began my blog several years ago, one of the questions I frequently have been asked is what the initials after my name stand for. Assuming you are familiar with the requirements to achieve CPA status, let us take a look at the others:

Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) are accreditations granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. These designations are exclusively for CPAs who demonstrate their business valuation expertise and Forensic Accounting experience and pass a written examination (ABV only).

Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA) have received training and certification to 1) serve as financial experts on divorce cases, 2) present powerful data to support legal arguments, and 3) offer financially sound settlement options.

Fellow status is awarded by the American Board of Forensic Accounting (FABFA) to those who have completed at least one of the American College of Forensic Examiners International’s credentialing programs and made professional contributions to the field of forensics. It recognizes achievement and excellence, and establishes the Fellow as a distinguished top professional.

Those of us who are Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) believe we are among the elite in our field. This is with good reason. According to The American Institute of CPAs, “The CFF credential is granted exclusively to CPAs who demonstrate considerable expertise in forensic accounting through their knowledge, skills, and experience. The CFF encompasses fundamental and specialized forensic accounting skills that CPA practitioners apply in a variety of service areas…” This, of course, includes Family Law.

The American Institute of CPAs concludes that the CFF credential:

• positions CFF accountants as the premier forensic accounting service providers

• demonstrates a commitment by CFF accountants to continuously improve their forensic accounting skills, resulting in increased professional competency

• ensures that the CPA has met the qualification requirements, which are based on passing the CFF examination, business experience and education

In addition to passing a challenging examination, CFF candidates must possess a minimum of 1,000 hours of experience in forensic accounting within a ten-year period preceding the date of the CFF application. The candidate must also have completed 75 hours of forensic accounting related continuing professional education. All hours need to have been acquired within the ten-year period prior to the date of application, with at least 50 percent obtained in the five-year period proceeding credential application submission. Thus, we who have attained the CFF credential not only believe we are the elite in our field, but offer a strong argument that attorneys who wish to be best served by a forensic accountant ought to limit their consideration to those who have attained this prestigious certification.