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Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirements for Certified Financial Services Auditors (CFSAs)

This document contains the mandatory CPE requirements for CFSAs. It also specifies the method of reporting by CFSAs who wish to keep their designation in good standing.

NOTE: If you are a Certified Internal Auditor® (CIA®), the CPE reporting that you complete for the CIA program satisfies the CPE reporting requirements for the CFSA and all other IIA specialty certifications. CPE reporting for specialty certifications requires that 25% of the hours earned must be in the specialty area of expertise.

CFSA professionals are responsible for:

  • Maintaining their knowledge and skills.
  • Updating their knowledge and skills related to improvements and current developments in internal auditing standards, procedures, and techniques.

CPE Requirement Regarding IIA International Standards

  1. In order to encourage understanding of and compliance with The IIA's International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards), The IIA's Professional Certification Board (PCB) has instated a requirement that CFSAs stay abreast of the Standards as part of their CPE.
  2. CFSAs must review or receive training on the Standards at some point during their CPE reporting period.
  3. If you are completing your CPE reporting form and have not already met this requirement, please take a moment to review the Standards before submitting your form.
  4. While there, we also encourage you to review the Practice Advisories (accessible with an IIA member password) and other sections of The IIA's International Professional Practices Framework (IPPF).

CPE Reporting Requirements for CFSAs

Certificate holders are required to self-certify as to the completion of the required continuing education hours. It is the CFSA's responsibility to assure that the CPE hours claimed conform to the guidelines established by the PCB. Forms are submitted by CFSAs on an annual basis and serve as signed statements that all applicable continuing professional development requirements have been met.

CFSAs may submit CPE reporting forms in The IIA's Certification Candidate Management System (CCMS). The reporting deadline is December 31 each year.

In order to facilitate reporting, CFSAs who also hold the CIA designation can satisfy the requirements of both programs by reporting appropriate CPE for the CIA designation only.

The Institute will issue an acknowledgment of compliance to each CFSA meeting the requirements of this guidance. The Institute will keep information on the active/inactive status of CFSAs. The PCB, upon request, may grant partial or complete exemption from CPE requirements for individuals when good cause exists, such as military service or individual hardship.

Each CFSA should submit an appropriate CPE reporting form to The Institute, without supporting documentation, in compliance with CPE requirements. Each CFSA should maintain a copy of the CPE reporting form, along with all supporting documentation, for at least three years after the records no longer apply to filed CPE reports. Records must be made available to The Institute or its designee at The Institute's request. The records maintained by the CFSA in support of the reporting form filed with The Institute should include, as appropriate, the following information:

  1. Title of program and/or description of content
  2. Dates attended
  3. Location of course or program
  4. Sponsoring organization
  5. Contact hours of credit as recommended by the course sponsor
  6. A letter, certificate, or other written independent attestation of course completion
  7. Documentation supporting publications, oral presentations, and committee or other participation

CFSA Reporting Categories

Category Description/Requirements
Practicing CFSAs​​ A CFSA who is practicing financial services auditing must complete a total of 20 hours of acceptable CPE every year.​​
Non-practicing CFSAs A CFSA who is not practicing financial services assessment auditing may request non-practicing status by notifying the Certification department in writing. Non-practicing CFSAs must complete a total of 10 hours of acceptable CPE every year. As long as their CPE requirements are met, non-practicing CFSAs may use the CFSA designation; however, if they resume practicing financial services auditing, they must report as a practicing CFSA.​
Retired CFSAs​ A CFSA who is not practicing financial services auditing because of retirement may request retired status by notifying The IIA's Certification Department in writing. Retired CFSAs are not responsible for completing CPE requirements. Retired CFSAs may use the CFSA designation; however, if they resume employment, they must report as a practicing or non-practicing CFSA, as appropriate.​
Inactive (Grace Period) Status A CFSA is automatically placed in inactive status by The IIA's Certification Department when the CFSA fails to meet established CPE requirements. CFSAs with an inactive status may not use the CFSA designation. Any wrongful use of the CFSA designation will be reported to The IIA's Ethics Committee for disciplinary action. The Individual must submit the prior year CPE report for the appropriate number of CPE hours.
Reinstatement to Active Status If an individual is inactive longer than 12 months, the individual will be required to report CPE hours at the status level that applies to their situation. (Refer to the CPE Reporting Statuses section in Administrative Directive No. 4). In addition, inactive CFSAs will be required to pay the applicable reinstatement fee at the time of reporting.

Qualifying CPE Activities

It is anticipated that CFSAs will maintain the high standards of the profession in selecting quality educational programs to fulfill the CPE requirements. The following general criteria are to be satisfied in order for a continuing education program to be accepted:

  1. The overriding consideration in determining whether a specific program is acceptable is that it shall be a formal program of learning which contributes directly to the professional competence of a CFSA.
  2. Acceptable formal programs should:
    1. Contribute to the professional competence of participants.
    2. State program objectives which specify the level of knowledge the participants should have attained, or the level of competence to be demonstrated upon completing the program.
    3. State education or experience prerequisites, if appropriate for the program.
    4. Be developed by individuals qualified in the subject matter and instructional design.
    5. Provide program content that is current.
    6. Be on a professional level and related to the CFSA Examination Topic Outline.

The CFSA Examination Topic Outline includes:

  1. Financial services auditing
  2. Banking
  3. Insurance
  4. Securities

Activities other than those listed in this guidance may be deemed acceptable if the CFSA can demonstrate that they contribute to professional competence. Substantiating that a particular activity qualifies as acceptable and meets the requirements is the responsibility of the CFSA.

CPE credit will be awarded for whole hours only with a minimum of 50 minutes constituting one hour. As an example, 100 minutes of continuous instruction would count for two hours; however, more than 50 minutes but less than 100 minutes of continuous instruction would count for only one hour. Only class contact or acceptable self-study hours are allowable. For chapter meetings throughout the reporting period or continuous conferences/conventions when individual segments are less than 50 minutes, the sum of the segments should be considered one total program. For example, five 30-minute presentations would equal 150 minutes and should be counted as three contact hours.

CFSA Examination

Hours are awarded for the year in which the CFSA certification is earned. (Candidates receive 20 hours in the year the certification is awarded and 20 hours the subsequent year). The 40 CPE hours awarded for the CFSA certification are based on earning the certification, and are not NASBA-approved.


A maximum of 20 CPE hours may be awarded in the education category each year. At least five of the 20 CPE hours required must be in this category. Educational activities include:

  1. Professional education and development programs, such as seminars and conferences, provided by national/federal, state, and local auditing and accounting organizations.
  2. Technical sessions at meetings of national/federal, state, and local auditing and accounting organizations and chapters.
  3. Formal in-house training programs.
  4. Programs of other sponsors (industrial, professional societies, etc.).
  5. College or university courses passed (credit and non-credit courses).
    1. Fifteen hours of CPE credit are awarded for each semester hour of college/university credit earned.
    2. Ten hours of CPE credit are awarded for each quarter hour of college/university credit earned.
  6. Other certification examinations passed.
    1. A maximum of 20 hours may be awarded in the year passed.
    2. 10 CPE hours are awarded for passing each part of another appropriate professional certification examination.
  7. Formal correspondence and self-study programs relevant to financial services auditing that include evidence of completion.


A maximum of 10 hours may be awarded in the publications category each year for books, articles, research papers, and training materials. Generally, one full journal page of single-spaced print is equal to two hours of CPE credit.

  • Books: 10 hours
  • Articles: 6 hours
  • Research papers: 6 hours

Contributions to publications should pertain to financial services audit disciplines related to the CFSA Examination Topic Outline. Published articles or books not related directly to financial services audit are acceptable if CFSAs are able to demonstrate that these activities contribute to their professional proficiency.

The IIA's CPE program also allows certified individuals to earn CPE hours by reading Internal Auditor magazine articles and answering questions about them.


A maximum of 10 hours may be awarded in the publications category each year. Generally one full journal page of single-spaced print is equal to two hours of CPE credit, with the following limits on one translation:

  • Books: 10 hours
  • Articles: 6 hours
  • Research papers: 6 hours

Translations of publications should pertain to certification domains or disciplines related to the Common Body of Knowledge, and/or the specialty examination topic outlines. Translations of published articles or books not related directly to internal auditing are acceptable if the certified individual is able to demonstrate that these activities contribute to their professional audit proficiency.

Oral Presentations

A maximum of 10 CPE hours may be awarded in the oral presentation category each year.

The hours reported for the first presentation will be based on the presentation time, plus credit for preparation time equivalent to three times the presentation time.

Subsequent presentations of the same material may be reported as presentation time only, up to a maximum of five CPE hours each year.


A maximum of 10 CPE hours may be awarded in the participation category each year for participation as an officer or committee member in a professional industry organization related to government auditing. One CPE hour for each hour of qualifying participation will be awarded.

External Quality Assessments

A maximum of 10 CPE hours may be awarded each year in the category of external quality assurance review activities. One CPE hour will be awarded for each hour spent on site, with the following limits on any one quality assurance review activity:

  1. Independent (external) validation of an internal audit activity’s self-assessment (as defined in the IPPF): maximum of 5 CPE hours per review.
  2. One-week external quality assurance review: maximum of five hours per review.
  3. Two-week external quality assurance review: maximum of 10 hours.

No CPE hours will be awarded for activities such as preparation time and writing the report.

Programs on Audit-related Issues

Most local IIA chapters offer programs on audit-related issues and provide CPE credit for those attending.

Find Your Local IIA

CPE Audit Process

The IIA will verify on a test basis the records of CFSAs and/or course sponsors in a manner deemed appropriate to determine compliance with the requirements set forth in this guidance. The potential penalty for submitting false information will be determined in accordance with the administrative directive, Disciplinary Policies and Procedures.


Ready to report? Access CCMS and visit the Complete a Form section to complete your CPE form.
Reminder: Save your CPE supporting documentation for three (3) years to submit if you are selected for an audit.


IMPORTANT! CCMS users go here to prepare for Single Sign On.

Access CCMS

Candidates from the following countries must refer to their local IIA Institute web-site or contact their local representative for more information about local certification processes:

The information contained on this website pertains to all other countries.