The New Generation Speaks


James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

Twenty-five years is just a sliver of time. And yet, the right people with the right idea at the right time can build a dynamic movement in less than a quarter of a century.

Five years ago in Fraud Magazine, we celebrated the history of the ACFE’s first two decades. In this issue, we recall our genesis, but we concentrate even more on our future.

When Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, Kathie Lawrence and I began in 1988 what was then the National Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, we didn’t know if we would have enough members to make our efforts viable.

However, we conjectured that fraud fighters might be hungry for training and validation. We had no idea how hungry they were!

After our initial promotional mailing to 200 investigators and 200 auditors, the applications first trickled in, then flowed through and eventually deluged our offices. The members’ eagerness for education and acceptance around the globe generated a new profession — fraud examination — and a new credential — the Certified Fraud Examiner.

Now the second generation of CFEs is building on the early members’ foundation. In this issue and the next, we hear from young CFEs in their 20s and 30s.

“Fraud has been on the minds of industry professionals for at least a decade,” says Chris Ekimoff, CFE, vice president with Duff & Phelps, LLC, in the article. “Now that most professionals are more aware of the risks of fraud in their business, the role of this second generation may be to formalize and actualize plans to mitigate those risks.”

Brett A. Johnson, CFE, forensic accounting manager for Eide Bailly LLP, says, “The fraud schemes themselves are very similar to what the first generation has taught us. ... E-discovery, utilizing the Internet, social networks and new technology are all things young professionals are generally more familiar with than the first generation in how to apply these tools in fraud examinations.”

Lindsay Harder Gill, CFE, director of forensic technology for Forensic Strategic Solutions Inc., says she “has learned from the first generation of fraud examiners that you cannot perform an examination in a vacuum. It takes a team of diversified skills and personalities.”

I’m impressed with the young CFEs that I meet at training events. Fraud examination principles are second nature to many of them because of higher-education classes afforded through the ACFE’s Anti-Fraud Education Partnership, which Dr. Wells began in the early part of the century.

Now they’re free to build on the first generation’s legacy. We’re in good hands.

Find more articles celebrating the ACFE's 25th anniversary in the current issue of Fraud Magazine.