Professional Standards Launch: Forensic Accountant Practice Standards & Qualifying Criteria

BY MINETTE NIEMANN | The ACFE SA and the Forensic Accounting Forum commemorated a momentous occasion on 30 June 2023, which will go down as a true milestone in the ACFE SA history book. The launch of the ACFE SA Forensic Accountant Practice Standards and Qualifying criteria was met with great enthusiasm from all involved and members of the public.

Back in 2013, thought leaders from SAICA, ACFE SA and the University of Pretoria (UP) gathered to discuss the potential for formal practice standards to be developed in support of forensic accountants and the forensic accounting profession. The drivers at the time included, among others, a true visionary in his thinking and one of the founding members of the ACFE SA Chapter, the late Prof. Danie du Plessis, Robert Cameron-Ellis, Raj Dhanlall, Kelly Masete and Jaco de Jager.

The ACFE SA established the Forensic Accounting Forum in 2018 to implement a specialist stream for Certified Fraud Examiners practising in investigative and forensic accounting. The Forensic Accounting Forum operates through a Committee made up of members of the ACFE SA with a specialised interest in investigative and forensic accounting representatives of various accounting professional bodies whose members are also involved in forensic accounting. The mandate of the Forensic Accounting Forum includes the development of Standard Practices to improve the consistency and comparability of practice amongst Certified Fraud Examiners performing investigative and forensic accounting engagements (“Forensic Accounting engagements”) in their capacity as Forensic Accountants.


Robert Cameron-Ellis, one of the speakers at the event, 'caught on camera'.


The primary purpose of these Standard Practices is to protect the public by ensuring consistency with a minimum standard of practice to be met by all Certified Fraud Examiners belonging to the ACFE SA in the performance of Forensic Accounting engagements. The Standard Practices also provide a framework for the application of professional judgment in Forensic Accounting engagements and prohibit offensive practices. The Standards are not a procedure manual but rather a set of principles and guidelines that highlight the minimum standard for Forensic Accountants. These Standard Practices are not pronouncements of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners whose Standards and Code of Conduct are set out in the Fraud Examiners Manual. They will be upheld through the ACFE Professional Standards and ACFE Code of Ethics.

These Standard Practices complement, rather than reiterate, the ACFE Code of Conduct. Because the ACFE Code of Conduct addresses various principles, including professionalism, diligence, integrity, confidentiality, conflict of interest, competence and independence as well as an obligation to testify truthfully and without bias or prejudice. These Standard Practices for Forensic Accounting engagements do not address these issues. Instead, they focus solely on those practice issues which are specific to the performance of Forensic Accounting engagements. We recognise that there are complexities in Forensic Accounting. The Forensic Accountant Qualifying Criteria were created because in order to add value as a forensic accountant, you need skill sets that combine fraud examination and accounting knowledge.


A view of the table that was prepared for the signing with the ACFE SA Training Room in the background.  Rashied Small, a SAIPA Executive, addresses the audience and Chairperson, Raj Dhanlall, is listening attentively.  


All Certified Fraud Examiners leading and/or managing Forensic Accounting engagements commencing on or after 1 January 2024, will be required to follow these Standard Practices. To the extent possible, all Certified Fraud Examiners who have Forensic Accounting engagements currently in progress on 1 July 2023 are also strongly encouraged to ensure that these engagements follow the Standard Practices.

The Forensic Accounting Forum and the Standards Committee of ACFE SA are grateful to the many individuals and groups who commented on the intermediary documents published during the development of these Standard Practices. We further want to thank all the other Regulatory and Professional bodies , such as ACCA, AGSA, AFROSAI-E, CIMA, ESAAG, IIA SA, IRBA, PAFA, SAICA, SAIGA, and SAIPA, who assisted us in compiling these standards and communicating these standards also to their members thereby ensuring that together we attain a one standard approach by all.

International organisations assisted us with this initiative by committing to using their influence to uphold these standards inside their countries and organisations. A special thanks to those who signed up to support and endorse these Standards: the Namibian Auditor General, Junias Kanjeke and the CEO of the Namibia Institute of Professional Accountants, Essie Herbst who joined us online. 


Presenter Mike Gora seen on the YouTube livestream while speaking about the ACCA's role and opinion.


We would like to thank the AFRICA Training Academy who was the main sponsor of the launch. The AFRICATA is the sole provider of CFE training in Africa and offers a 10-day Advanced Certificate, Certified Fraud Examiner Course. You can contact the Academy at for more information, dates and requirements.

The ACFE SA Training Room as seen in the photographs can be hired for training, meetings, disciplinary hearings or other proceedings. For more information and costs, contact Nelly Khoza at