DAFF-M03 Data Analysis for Fraud Using Spreadsheets - Module 03 Benford's Law

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Course Overview

This module introduces students to data analysis techniques for transaction-level data to identify potential fraud through a Benford's Law analysis. Definitions, examples, and exercises from a case study are given to provide students with an understanding of the analysis steps performed during an investigation when manipulation is suspected. 

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:

  • an introduction to Benford's Law analysis for fraud;
  • pre-analysis steps to perform on the dataset;
  • a clear understanding about the different tests; and
  • how to effectively identify high risk transactions.


  • 24/7 access to courses through your Internet browser;
  • Save time and quickly earn CPE credits with instant access; 
  • Qualified assessment (quiz) grading after each lesson; 
  • The flexibility to start or stop a course and pick-up right where you left off; and
  • A printable CPE certificate at the end of the course upon successful completion.

Qualified Instructor

Alexis C. Bell, MS, CFE


Basic and Introductory -  Program knowledge level most beneficial to students new to a skill or an attribute. These individuals are often at the staff or entry level in organizations, although such programs may also benefit a seasoned professional with limited exposure to the area.

Pre-Requisites Required

Experience: It is strongly suggested that students will have successfully completed the following course prior to attempting this course:

DAFF-M01 Data Analysis for Fraud using Spreadsheets - Module 01 Data Quality

Course Overview

This module introduces students to data quality assessment methodology which is required prior to analyzing any dataset. Definitions, examples, and exercises are given to provide students with an understanding of the steps performed to ensure quality of the data is optimal for analysis.

Note: If you go to your Master Class dashboard, you should see the Module 1 course.  

Advance Preparation: This course uses spreadsheets such as MS Excel or Google Sheets. Students will be required to use a spreadsheet software of their choosing during the exercise portion of the lesson. Therefore, prior to starting the course, students will need to be able to access a spreadsheet software during certain lessons in order to be able to complete the course. 

CPE Hours

The recommended CPE credit for this course is 35 CPE hours in the below indicated fields of study.

Credit Hour

One credit hour is equal to fifty minutes of participation in a program of learning.

Claiming CPE Credit

The receiving organization where you submit the certificate of completion has final authority on the acceptance of the individual courses for CPE credit. To be eligible for CPE credit, you must complete each lesson in the course, successfully pass the final exam with at least an 80% score, and submit the ending evaluation within one year of purchase date. You may only claim CPE credit for a course once.

Fields of Study

This course may be submitted for consideration for continuing professional education (CPE) credit under the following fields of study:

  • ACFE (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners) - Investigation Techniques > Data Analysis and Reporting Tools
  • AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) - Specialized Knowledge and Applications
  • NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) - Specialized Knowledge and Applications

We Want to Know

Have you submitted this course to an organization and the CPE credit was accepted by another organization? We want to know the organization's name, website, and field of study. Please email us with the details at [email protected]

Instructional Method

This is an online self-study, computer-assisted learning course. 


  • “Fraud Doctor®” is a registered trademark of Fraud Doctor LLC. 
  • “MS Excel®” is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. 
  • “Google SheetsTM” is a web-based spreadsheet program with a registered trademark of Google. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/

Course Syllabus

Introduction to Benford's Law

This unit provides important tips on how to navigate the course, the origins of Benford's Law, and the key definitions & rules for the Benford's Law analysis.

Pre-Analysis - Calculate statistics

This unit is about the pre-analysis step to calculate statistics for the dataset.

Pre-Analysis - Attribute Limitations

This unit is about testing each field for the appropriateness to be able to conduct the Benford's Law analysis. For values within a field of structured data to be tested, the data must meet certain criteria. Otherwise, the Benford's Law analysis may not produce meaningful results.

Analysis - First Digit

This unit is about the first digit (D1) test for overall conformity to Benford's Law.

Analysis - Second Digit

This unit is about the second digit (D2) test for biases in the dataset.

Analysis - First-Two Digits

This unit is about the first-two digits (D1D2) test to identify transactions that deviate significantly from Benford's Law.

Analysis - Last-Two Digits

This unit is about the last-two digits (L1L2) test to detect number invention.

Bringing It All Together

This unit is about combining the findings from the testing to select specific transactions for further examination.

Course Final Exam, Evaluation & CPE Certification

Students must complete the final exam and pass with a minimum score of 80%. Afterwards, they are provided an opportunity to evaluate the course and then receive their CPE certificate.

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