John Gill, J.D., CFE
ACFE VP of Education
When I heard earlier this week that Jim Ratley, the ACFE’s President and CEO, was named one of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People, I can honestly say that I was not surprised. Each fall, the publication carefully narrows down a swarm of nominations to the 100 people making a difference and “playing the biggest roles in the ongoing work that is the accounting profession.” Jim is definitely one of these people.
I have known and worked with Jim for more than 17 years, and I can assure you Accounting Today did not make a mistake. When I started at the ACFE back in 1995, I hardly saw Jim. He was on the road teaching about 75 percent of the time. Back then, I headed both the ACFE’s legal department and our research/publications department, and Jim was our program director and primary instructor. I worked with Jim to research and write a lot of the material he taught. I am always amazed at how good he was (and still is). I could hand him any set of material, and he could bring it to life like no one else.
He has taught thousands upon thousands of people over the last 25 years to glowing reviews and praise. For the first time, I’m ready to reveal his secrets. First, he knows what he’s talking about. Jim worked as a Dallas police officer and a private detective for 20 years before helping found the ACFE. When he explains how you should conduct an interview, he knows because he learned his techniques the hard way.
Second, he enjoys what he does. Jim loves talking, and he loves talking about fraud. You can see his face light up when he starts telling a story about how he nabbed the bad guy by beating him at a “cat and mouse” game during an admission-seeking interview.
And finally, he uses humor like no one else I know. It’s hard to sit and listen to one person for eight hours. But Jim not only can communicate information, he entertains as he does it. He has a thousand stories (I know because I’ve heard each one several times over the years), but I swear, they are still entertaining. The people in his classes enjoy listening and learning from him.
Today, as President and CEO of the largest anti-fraud organization in the world, he is working to expand the ACFE’s programs and services internationally, and he does an amazing job. Although his travel schedule is lighter, he still makes trips all over the globe to talk to accountants, auditors, attorneys, investigators and law enforcement about the importance of fraud detection and prevention. And once again, he runs the ACFE using his three secret weapons – knowledge, passion and humor. I am proud that Accounting Today recognized his achievements. He certainly deserves it.