Tracy McLaughlin, CFE, Manager
Heinfeld, Meech & Co., P.C.
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
To Tracy McLaughlin, CFE, manager at Heinfeld, Meech & Co., the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential has proven to be much more than just a simple acronym she could add to the end of her name. Since earning her credential in January 2010, McLaughlin has already taken advantage of several membership resources like webinars, newsletters and training that have armed her with better interviewing tactics and new methods to teach her governmental and nonprofit accounting and auditing firm's clients how to perform effective risk assessments.
What advantage does the CFE credential give professionals in the accounting and auditing fields? What specific advantage has it given you in your career?
The CFE credential illustrates that the auditor/accountant has received additional training to assist them in thinking outside of the box. This better allows them to review, modify, create and advise in regards to controls. These controls help clients in prevention and detection of fraud. The training and continual resources provided by the ACFE through webinars, newsletters, conferences, etc. have helped me in expanding my knowledge when assessing sources provided by a client.
What are some of the major differences between auditing a government agency and auditing a nonprofit?
A nonprofit tends to have more flexibility in establishing procedures and policies that are specific to the organization's core mission. Government agencies are more prone to having documented policies and procedures. This doesn't necessarily mean that government agencies follow them better, though. Governmental agencies have a structured framework of the required procedures and policies that must be followed at a minimum, and then those procedures and policies can be tailored to the government's unique mission.
When working with both types of agencies it is always critical to make sure you are familiar and versed in the uniqueness of each agency and their particular procedures and policies. There are times when I have to remind myself and the team that this is one type of agency or the other and to not confuse the two when reviewing items and determining if there is a breakdown of internal controls or a lack of procedure and policy.
Read Tracy's full profile in our Career Center here.