Jacob Parks, J.D., CFE
ACFE Research Specialist
The 2011 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity reveals what many people in a job market struggling from a recession are likely familiar with: a decrease in the rate of new businesses that serve as employers and an increase of sole proprietorships. In fact, new sole proprietors are popping up at the fastest rate in 15 years, according to the study.
Many fraud examiners have established or are considering establishing their own practices. I have heard from several ACFE members who started a practice because they enjoy the perks of self-employment, while others felt the move was less voluntary — the result of fewer job openings with established employers.
Whether you are a seasoned self-employer or planning to hang out your own shingle soon, maintaining a steady stream of business is critical to success. In today’s challenging market, many fraud examiners are looking for ways to bolster their own firms’ business by attracting new clients and keeping current ones. A smart marketing campaign that fits your business model is essential to making your practice prosper.
We recently created an online course, Marketing Your Fraud Examination Practice, with the goal of helping you design and implement a marketing strategy. The course shows you how to develop your firm’s brand by directing your specific services to a target audience in an efficient way.
A common assumption is that marketing can be summarized in the purchase of various types of advertisements, but in fact that is only one aspect of the process. The course also outlines a public relations strategy that is designed to develop a strong, positive reputation for fraud examination firms. Additionally, the course includes guidance on one of the most important and least costly forms of marketing: professional networking. Being able to meet the right people, use online media and access the various social and professional organizations within the anti-fraud community can give your firm the edge it needs to thrive.
Skill and a lot of hard work are necessary to start and maintain a successful fraud examination practice. Additionally, marketing your services is essential for your firm to reach its potential.