Monday, December 18, 2017

Certified Financial Services Auditor® (CFSA®)

Enhance Your Career – Become a Certified Financial Services Auditor. The Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) is The Institute of Institute of Internal Auditor’s (IIA) specialty certification program that measures an individual’s knowledge of, and proficiency in, audit principles and practices within the banking, insurance, and securities financial service industries. The CFSA exam is offered globally at more than 200 exam sites around the world serving, as the globally recognized and adopted symbol of an individual’s knowledge and proficiency in financial services auditing. The exam format offers candidates a choice of three financial services disciplines –banking, insurance, and securities. Candidates may choose any one these disciplines when taking the exam, regardless of their current occupational field. Earning the CFSA designation will:

  • Distinguish you from your peers.
  • Carry weight with internal staff and external clients.
  • Demonstrate your proficiency and professionalism.
  • Give you personal satisfaction of achievement.
  • Lay a foundation for continued improvement and advancement.
  • Exempt you from taking Part IV of the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) exam.


Who Should Earn a CFSA Designation? If you work in any of these industry categories, the CFSA program will benefit you:

  • Banking Institutions
  • Thrift/Savings and Loan Organizations
  • Credit Unions
  • Insurance Carriers, Agents, Services
  • Security and Commodity Services
  • Real State Services
  • Holding and Investment Companies
  • Credit Agencies
  • Regulatory Agencies
  • Other Financial Service Organizations


Exam Content
The CFSA exam tests a candidate’s knowledge of current auditing practices and understanding of internal audit issues, risks, and remedies in the financial services industry.

  • The exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions.
  • The testing period is three hours and fifteen minutes.
  • Exam questions are all multiple-choice (objective) with four-answer choice.
  • 100 questions will cover all three disciplines – banking, insurance, and securities.
  • 25 questions will be relate to the candidates’ chosen discipline and will be at the proficiency level.
  • CFSA candidates may choose any one of the three disciplines as part of their CFSA exam test.
  • Candidates may not choose to be tested on more than one discipline.
  • The CFSA designation does not distinguish one chosen discipline from another.


Exam Non Disclosure
The CFSA exam is a nondisclosed examination, which means that current exam questions and answers will not be published or divulged.



Note: Exam topics and/or format are subject to change as approved by the Board of Regents.


CFSA Exam Domains
The CFSA exam core content covers four domains.


Domain I: Financial Services Auditing (25-35%)

  1. IIA Professional Practices Framework (P)
  2. Internal Control / Risk Management / Governance (P)
    1. Internal Control Frameworks
    2. Risk management Frameworks
    3. Governance Models
  3. Audit Process(P)
    1. Audit Planning
    2. Audit Fieldwork
      1. Risk Assessment
      2. Analytical Review
      3. Data Gathering and Evaluation
      4. Testing
      5. Tools and Techniques (e.g., CAAT)
    3. Audit Communications
    4. Monitoring Outcomes
  4. Implications of Information Technology (P)
  5. Auditing Financial Statement Elements (P)
    1. Balance Sheet
    2. Statement of cash flows
    3. Income / Expense Statement
    4. Off Balance-sheet items


Domain II: Auditing Financial Services Products (25-35%)

  1. Lending/Loans (A)
  2. Deposits (A)
  3. Trusts (A)
  4. Annuities (A)
  5. Derivatives (A)
  6. Electronic Services (A)
  7. Cash Management Services (A)
  8. Stocks (A)
  9. Bonds (A)
  10. Commodities (A)
  11. Mutual Funds (A)
  12. Employee Benefits (A)
  13. Capital Market Products (A)
  14. Securities Lending (A)
  15. Insurance Policies (A)
  16. Insurance Products (A)
  17. Foreign Exchange (A)
  18. Asset Management (A)
  19. Money Market Products (A)


Domain III: Auditing Financial Service Processes (25-35%)

  1. Risk Management (A)
    1. Asset/Liability Management
    2. Trading Market Risk
    3. Credit, Liquidity, Operational Risk
    4.  Allowance for Loan and Lease Losses
    5.  Reserves
  2. Underwriting (A)
    1.   Loans
    2. Securities
    3. Insurance
    4. Private Placement
    5. Initial Public Offerings
  3. Securitizations (A)
  4.  Treasury Operations (e.g., Cash Management) (A)
  5. Back-office Operations (A)
  6. Marketing Sales and Distribution (e.g., Insurance Agencies, Bank Branches, Brokers) (A)
  7. Claims (A)
  8. Investments (A)
  9. Broker/Dealer Activities (A)
  10. Rating Advisory Service (A)
  11. Mergers and Acquisitions (A)
  12. Loan Operations (e.g., Collateral Issues, Perfecting Liens) (A)


Domain IV: The Regulatory Environment (10-20%)

  1. Overview of the Regulatory Environment (A)
    1. Function of Central Bank
    2. Function of Insurance Regulators
    3. Function of Securities Regulators
  2.  Laws and Regulations (A)
    1. Equal Credit Opportunity/Antidiscrimination
    2. Home Mortgage Disclosure
    3. Reserve Requirements
    4. Insider Transactions
    5. Lending Disclosure
    6. Deposits Disclosure
    7. Real Estate Sales Disclosure
    8. Self-assessment of Internal Controls/Risk Management
    9. Investor/Depositor Protection
    10. Financial and Personal Information Privacy
    11. Anti-Money Laundering
  3.  Stock Exchanges and Other Markets (A)
  4. Money and Banking (A)
    1. Role of Money and Banking
    2. Bond and Stock Markets
    3. Effect of Interest Rate Movements
    4. Monetary Management Theories


P=Candidates must exhibit proficiency (thorough understanding, ability to apply concepts) in these topic areas.
A=Candidates must exhibit awareness (knowledge of terminology and fundamentals) in these topic areas.


CFSA Exam Individual Disciplines

Individual Financial Services Discipline Sections.

  • Banking: Products, Processes, and The Regulatory Environment(25 Questions – Proficiency Level)
  • Insurance: Products, Processes, and The Regulatory Environment(25 Questions – Proficiency Level)
  • Securities: Products, Processes, and The Regulatory Environment(25 Questions – Proficiency Level)


When you are ready to begin the exam, the system will advise you of the time that you have to complete the exam. The time allotted for each actual exam is as follows:

CERTIFICATION IN CONTROL SELF-ASSESSMENT (CCSA)115 multiple choice questions*2 hours and 55 minutes*
CERTIFIED GOVERNMENT AUDITING PROFESSIONAL (CGAP)115 multiple choice questions*2 hours and 55 minutes*
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL SERVICES AUDITOR (CFSA)115 multiple choice questions*2 hours and 55 minutes*


Note:  As of mid-2013 the table above lists the number of questions and timing for the IIA specialty exams. Until the time of transition, the current 125-question specialty exam structure will remain in place. To view the transition timeline, please see: