Evolution of the MFAcc Program
The Diploma in Investigative & Forensic Accounting was initially developed in response to a need identified by the Alliance for Excellence in Investigative and Forensic Accounting of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants to provide practitioners in the field of Investigative & Forensic Accounting with a sound educational background in order to better serve their clients and the courts. To that end, the Alliance developed a “Body of Knowledge”, later replaced by the “IFA Competency Map”, upon which the program was developed. The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants provided the initial development funds to launch this program.
Over time, the student body has expanded to include accountants with a wide variety of professional designations in a number of different career settings. These students are resident in numerous jurisdictions, both inside and outside of Canada.
The program continues to evolve to meet the needs of the Investigative and Forensic Accounting community, their clients and the legal profession at large.
In 2013, the DIFA Program was accepted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) as fulfilment of all the academic requirements for the Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) designation.
To respond to the future demands on forensic accountants, the Master of Forensic Accounting (MFAcc) has been created. The MFAcc replaced the DIFA program in September 2017.
Based on the definition of investigative and forensic accounting, IFAs must have:
- critical thinking, analytical and presentation skills,
- knowledge of and ability to apply appropriate investigative techniques,
- the ability to evaluate financial and accounting information systems even when these are complex and disorganized, and
- the ability to assess the legal and economic context of a business transaction and its implications for the parties involved.
In addition, IFAs must have a keen sense of ethics and professional ethical behavior, and an ability to make cogent, persuasive reports in writing and verbally as an expert witness in court or other legal proceedings. At all times, the IFA must be able to bring a mind-set of professional scepticism to bear, and thereby ensure that the information s/he works with will be accurate and objective.