I believe most of you who have landed this post may be preparing for CAMS-Audit or searching for more information about CAMS-Audit. In that case, you will find this article useful.
I have completed CAMS-Audit in January 2022 and I would like to share my experience. I think this might be valuable in your pursuit of this certification.
Previously the CAMS-Audit certification involved a 3-day in-person workshop and a white paper to achieve the certification. After Covid-19, ACAMS has changed the format for this certification. Now you can take the exam to pass this certification.The exam consists of 90 multiple choice questions covering all 3 parts of the study guide. The allowed time for the exam was 175 minutes. More about this later on.
Also regarding cost, my suggestion is that you contact provided ACAMS representative. You can even ask for a discount and they are willing to help in any way possible. So my suggestion is don’t directly pay for the certification package by going through website, sending mail to ACAMS about your interest in certification, and talk to one of their representative. Trust me, you will get a good deal.
So, if you are one of those, who may thinking, is this course suitable for me or not. I have written a separate article here. This article will explain why any organization needs to perform AML/CFT about. You will also have a general idea of what the CAMS –Audit is all about and whether you should pursue this course or not.
I have to be honest here. The 280 page long CAMS-Audit Study Guide is poorly designed. The material is re-written, there are grammatical mistakes. Don’t get me started about formatting. It looks more like a manuscript rather than a properly designed book. My main complain with this is that the study material does not follow the proper order. I found losing my chain of though frequent times. In any case, you can divide the study guide into three parts:
Chapter 1: Audit Program
- AML Audit Process overview
- Phases of AML audit
- AML Governance
- Audit considerations
- Risks –based audit plan
Chapter 2: Auditing the AML Risk Assessment and other elements of the AML Program Auditing the AML Risk Assessment / Enterprise-Wise Risk Assessment (EWRA)
- Auditing KYC / CDD
- Auditing transaction monitoring and transaction screening
Chapter 3: Auditing SARs/STRs, training, and communication of the audit results
- Auditing the SAR and STR process
- Issue management, validation, corrective action
- Presenting the results of an AML Audit
Again, it is up to you to make sense of all of these and derive an order. In essence, you have to know what Audit is all about and how to apply its concepts while performing AML Audit. What helped me to pass this exam was my audit experience. I have been a financial auditor, IT auditor, internal auditor, external auditor. Audit concepts are same in all sector, if you know these concepts, it will be really help you pass this exam.
Again, I don’t mean to discourage you, if you are not from an audit background. But you really need to put more effort here. After all, this is advanced certification and a major upgrade from CAMS. So you have to be well prepared. But the good news is you will be tested from the concepts in the study guide. I also suggest you go through ACAMS white paper. Try to read as many white paper on AML Audit, you can. This will help you immensely.
Give yourself ample of time to prepare for this exam. This one is not to be taken lightly. I invested 2 hours daily for over the period of 3 months to prepare for this exam. Some of you may take less time. Besides, make sure you go through study guide at least thrice, to grab all the concept and inter-link them. If you are not from audit background, you may want to hone on some basic concepts of audit. There are literally thousands of websites dedicated to this. Further, you may want to go through this article which will warm up you to AML/CFT audit. ACAMS also provides virtual training for CAMS-Audit, but they are quite expensive. However, if you have enough budget, you can try that.
I use to tell people this joke, “People usually don’t fear exam than its result.”. As per Sun Tzu, if you know you strength and of your enemy, you don’t need to fear the result of 1000 battles meaning when you are fully prepare, you don’t have to fear the result itself. But I think Sun Tzu will be wrong in case of this exam. As I said earlier you will be tested from the concepts of Study guide, no doubt but you need to know when, how, why, where to apply those concepts. This one is tricky. So you need to understand the scenario very carefully and decide which options to choose. Again there is no clear distinction between right and wrong , most will depend upon you intuition and understanding of study guide.
Again, my previous audit background helped me lot here. As a auditor, your main job is to identify what controls in regard to Policies, procedures and regulation are implemented or not implemented in the organization. How is this affecting AML/CFT risk and what recommendation do you need to provide ? There is saying for Auditors that they are watchdog but not hound-dog. You will identify the issues but will not involve directly to solve them. I hope this piece of advice will help you because, this exam will through you a curve ball.
Also be mindful of time. There will be long scenarios question , so you think that this one is quite difficult and you need some time then mark that question for review and come back after. In this way you will save a lot of time.
When you register for this exam, we will have a learning portal where you will find some mock tests. Don’t get hang of it, they will ask exact words and letter from study guide. But this is not true in real exam. Majority of question will be scenario based. So, if you are getting failing marks in mock test, don’t sweat.
Considering toughness of this exam, it lead me to creation of this course in Udemy, which will guide you properly in your preparation for this exam. In this couse, I will guide you in the planning, implementation, completion of the AML/CFT Audit in a fictional company, Rayne Development Bank. Here, I have use animation and power of storytelling to make your learning journey fun.
I hope to see you there.
By Kiran Kumar Shah