Fraud Examiner Provides Insight into Life as a Small Business Owner


Timothy Hediger, CFE, CIA, CCSA, Owner and CEO
Polaris Risk Services, LLC
Apex, N.C., USA

For Timothy Hediger, CFE, CIA, CCSA, Owner and CEO of Polaris Risk Services, LLC, the lack of timesheets, managers and 9-5 schedules are all dimmed by the No. 1 benefit of owning his own business: a liberal dress code. His usual attire consists of a Tommy Bahama t-shirt, shorts and flip flops, an outfit many corporate employees only dream of. But for Hediger, there is no office to leave or time card to punch. “It is a struggle because, as an independent professional, you must be available for your clients,” Hediger said. “But with that comes great flexibility in my schedule for my family.”

How did you know that making the move to self-employment was the right one?
When I got my first major client! As other independent professionals, professional service owners and partners at CPA firms can attest — your hopes, dreams and hard work are realized when you negotiate an effective contract with a customer.  

What is the most important thing you learned about owning your own business within the first year of striking out on your own?
Patience is the most important trait I needed while marketing and maintaining my client base. I cannot emphasize this enough to readers because professional services are inherently a trust business — even more so with fraud, forensics, internal controls and continuous monitoring. Think about it for a moment; you are working with a client that is under great distress and turns to you to solve it. Remembering patience when you gain and maintain a customer is vital. 

How did you build up your client base?
My major client took many years of networking before I got the opportunity. I feel that being friendly and helpful earns business. 

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