Vote for the Future Leaders of the ACFE

GUEST BLOGGER 

Jim Oakes, CFE, CFCI, ACFE Regent, ACFE UK Chapter President
Managing Director, Financial Crime Risk, Ltd.

As 2014 approaches and my term in office as chair of the Board of Regents sadly draws to an end, I would like to reflect on what seems like an all too brief, but extremely fulfilling, experience. I first became aware of the ACFE when I left law enforcement to join Citibank as an investigator in the mid-90s. Recognition of the ACFE here in the UK at this time was restricted mainly to U.S.-based international corporations, but that was about to change following the establishment of the ACFE UK Chapter in 1996. Since that time our chapter membership has grown to more than 900 members. 

Although I have served on the board of the UK Chapter initially serving as vice president in 2004 for nine years and serving as Chapter president since 2013, the internal workings of the ACFE, so far away in Austin, were much of a mystery to me. In 2011 I was shortlisted as a proposed candidate for election to serve on the 2012-2013 Board of Regents. This was the highlight of my professional career. I did not expect to be elected against such worthy and highly qualified fellow candidates, and I was extremely proud just to have been shortlisted. Needless to say I was delighted upon being elected by my peers to serve on the ACFE Board of Regents.

On arrival at the Gregor Building, ACFE’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, in February 2012 to be installed on the Board, I was surprised to discover behind the historic former private dwelling, which forms the key offices of the executives of the Association, a large complex of several modern office buildings housing more than 75 permanent staff, the powerhouse of the ACFE. On meeting the staff, one can only be impressed by their enthusiasm and professionalism, which are keys to the ongoing success of our organisation.

As a member of the Board of Regents I have performed several integral functions. Under the current bylaws, the Board of Regents has sole authority over the admission of members, including but not limited to, examination standards. The Board is responsible for establishing, modifying and enforcing the CFE Code of Professional Ethics and all other matters necessary to maintain the high standards of the ACFE around the world. Acting as the final decision makers on disciplinary matters and upholding the principles and standards of the Association can be a challenging aspect and is not taken lightly.

Give a fellow CFE the opportunity to represent you on the Board of Regents by voting right now for the two representatives of your choice. Act now to help a colleague begin their role as a future leader in the premier anti-fraud organization in the world. You won't regret it, and those elected to represent you will always remember your grassroots support just like I have done over the years.

Fraud Conference is a News Maker

GUEST BLOGGER

Scott Patterson
ACFE Senior Media Relations Specialist

When most people think about conferences, they conjure thoughts of chilly meeting rooms and PowerPoint presentations. Name tags. Perhaps some dry “trade talk” and (you hope) some free swag. These events are important for our professional development – but let’s be honest, for anyone not involved, a conference isn’t exactly headline-grabbing news. Unless it’s the ACFE Global Fraud Conference, that is.

There are always a number of journalists covering the annual event, and this year was no different. They came to report on the latest trends in cyber fraud, online investigations, interviewing techniques and other cutting-edge issues in our profession. Not only that, they wanted to hear what our keynote speakers had to say to thousands of fraud fighters who hung onto their every word. This year saw even more media coverage than usual, including live reporting by CNBC and on-location coverage from Fortune, Forbes, Accounting Today and other venues.

When CNBC set up their cameras to film the ACFE’s Cressey Award-winner Preet Bharara on the opening day of the Conference, they anxiously waited to see what breaking news he would announce from the podium. Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, didn’t disappoint: During his speech he revealed that the 2nd Circuit issued its ruling on the Raj Rajaratnam (currently serving 11 years in prison) appeal by upholding the conviction – a statement that was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Forbes blogger Walt Pavlo and Accounting Today editor-in-chief Michael Cohn attended breakout sessions and covered a variety of aspects of the conference. Peter Elkind, Fortune editor-at-large and co-author of The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, was on hand to see Andrew Fastow deliver the conference’s closing keynote address.

The Fastow appearance created a lot of buzz around the Conference. It was his first public appearance before a large audience and the media. Though his speech was not videotaped, as per his request, CNBC reported live (on-location from the conference) immediately following his address with reaction to his revelations and admissions.  

CNBC reporter Scott Cohn and his crew stayed through the entire Main Conference, talking with speakers, attendees and exhibitors. The result was a great clip produced for PBS Nightly Business Report that covered the event as a whole, a summation of the largest gathering of anti-fraud professionals in the world included in a segment titled, "Financial Fraud Fears."

It’s exciting to see the media sharing the experience of the ACFE Global Fraud Conference with the rest of the world. It just helps illustrate that it’s not only a conference – it’s an event.

Read all of the news coverage from the Conference.

Jim Ratley Named as One of Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People

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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.

Greetings from Sunny Singapore

dewi-malik.jpg

GUEST BLOGGER

Dewi Malik

Business Support Manager

ACFE Asia Pacific Regional Service Centre

Combatting fraud has no geographical boundaries. That is why the nature of fraud in global business today calls for an international presence. With the opening of the new Asia-Pacific office in Singapore we wish to strengthen our presence throughout this area and beyond. We also want to greatly improve support for our ACFE members in the region.

My colleagues and I are extremely excited to be a part of this huge step towards fulfilling ACFE's No. 3 New Year's Resolution-Expand International Growth Efforts to New Regions. This move to set up an ACFE office in the hub of Singapore truly represents the astounding membership growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

The ACFE Asia-Pacific office offers timely language-specific support to new, existing and potential members in this culturally diverse region. Whether you are from Korea, Japan, Australia or China, my colleagues and I are here to answer any queries or give feedback relating to the ACFE's membership, conferences, programmes and services. In addition to English, we have support staff members well-versed in Mandarin, Japanese and Korean.

I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to join the global ACFE family. I hope to be able to meet you and colleagues from around the world at the upcoming 2012 ACFE Asia-Pacific Fraud Conferencein Hong Kong, 4-6 November 2012.

We welcome your queries and feedback. Please contact us at +65 6496 5503 or AsiaPacific@ACFE.com. I certainly hope to speak with you soon.

5 Proven Analytic Methods to Discover Fraud in Data

GUEST BLOGGER

Scott Patterson
ACFE Media Relations Specialist

To wrap up Fraud Week, I’d like to pass along some words of wisdom from one of this year’s new Official Supporters, Centrifuge Systems. Renee Lorton, Centrifuge’s CEO, wrote to us about the importance of analyzing and evaluating data in any effort to detect and prevent fraud.

“Big data is everywhere. Customer data. Social networking data.  External watch sites. Industry lists,” Lorton wrote. “With more data comes the opportunity for hidden crimes of collusion -- criminal rings of behavior that span global business networks. International Fraud Awareness Week is a call to action to tame this jungle of data.” 

So these tips are for the “data guardians.” Lorton provides five proven analytic methods to discover fraud in your data:

  • Integrate disparate data sources enabling your analysts to connect the dots and reveal the truth. This could include business line data, fraud alerts, customer transaction records, employee data or invoices.
  • Profile your data first. Charts and histograms can be very effective ways to understand the data values you are working with. These initial profiles will point you in the right direction for more advanced analysis which may include creating new variables and defining relationship maps.
  • Extend your current analysis techniques to include interactive data visualization. You will find that different forms of charts, time lines, tables and relationship graphs reveal unique insights that predictive technologies and rules based systems simply can't find.
  • Use "visual cues" when analyzing relationship graphs. These can include link directions, size of nodes and width of links. These visual cues allow you to quickly identify interesting parts of the graph. For example, you can quickly pinpoint people with similar addresses or large financial transactions.
  • Document and share insights throughout the investigation. As you reveal key findings, hidden relationships or unusual behavior, document your results. Tracking the discovery process over time will be invaluable as you educate others on how you arrived at your conclusions. Sharing results with other fraud analysts should speed up the investigation.

Thank you to Centrifuge Systems, and all of our Official Supporters, for making this an amazing week of raising awareness and shining a spotlight on white-collar crime.

Until next year...