Kim Fleischmann, CFE, Senior Auditor - Global Internal Audit Services
When Kim Fleischmann, a born and bred Oregonian, applied on a whim for a student scholarship to attend the ACFE Global Fraud Conference in 2012, she had no idea that she would leave the event with an auditor position with Walmart. “Without the scholarship and conference, I’m not sure when I would have realized what opportunities were available in the private sector,” said Fleischmann. “Ultimately, I believe I ended up where I’m at because of the connections made through the ACFE and my willingness to integrate my experiences into my new career.”
How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
My passion for fighting fraud has steadily grown throughout my working career. During college, I processed background screenings for rental applications and discovered I loved digging up dirt that people thought they hid. A couple of years after graduating, I worked for a small international fishing company leading the accounts payable department. This was my first experience working for someone whose ethics I questioned. Throughout the next decade, I worked in various companies, good and bad, and continued to have experiences with individuals who walked the fine line between ethical and unethical behaviors. It was during this time that my frustration and passion grew as I continued to see the damage unethical decisions left behind.
How do you think receiving a scholarship to attend the ACFE Global Fraud Conference impacted your career?
Applying for the student scholarship to the ACFE Global Fraud Conference was something I did on a whim. I was close to completing my masters in Criminal Justice Administration, and I was not sure of my next step. The only thing I was sure of is that I wanted to fight fraud and corruption. While at the conference, I approached the Walmart Internal Audit booth in the Exhibit Hall to see what opportunities they had to offer. Before leaving the conference, I had completed an interview. I received a job offer within the month. Throughout my studies, I assumed I would end up in the public arena and never really considered the corporate world, despite having worked in that world for the previous decade. Without the scholarship and conference, I’m not sure when I would have realized what opportunities were available in the private sector.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned since becoming a CFE?
I remember someone once saying that fraud is sexy. In the last couple of years, especially since earning my CFE, I would agree with that statement. On the surface, fraud is sexy and fascinating, but it is after you look past the exciting façade and really look at it that you see the infectious and insidious nature that allows it to proliferate. I have discovered that when the CFE credential comes up in conversation most people are intrigued, but tend only to see the sexy side of fraud. Those that are truly passionate are the ones that look beyond the obvious and see the challenges faced in combating fraud and corruption.
What steps led you to your current position?
After one particularly boring day at work, I did some depressing calculations and realized I still had 30 years left before retiring. That, combined with the fact that I never truly loved any job since graduating, prompted me to reassess how I wanted to spend the rest of my working career. Law enforcement had always fascinated me, so I jumped head first into a criminal justice graduate program. It was there I realized how different I was from my classmates as years spent in business gave me a unique perspective. Throughout my studies, I made a conscious effort to grow and expand that perspective through classes, research and networking so that I stood out among my peers. Ultimately, I believe I ended up where I’m at because of the connections made through the ACFE and my willingness to integrate my experiences into my new career.
What is your current role and what does it entail?
As a Senior Auditor within Internal Audit, I am lucky to be a member of a small functional team specifically focused on anti-corruption and fraud prevention. Working with customers in ethics, compliance and legal, my team helps ensure that policies and controls are in place to discourage or detect unethical or fraudulent activity. Additionally, I have the opportunity to encourage and educate others on the risks of fraud within various areas of the company through work with the local ACFE chapter.
What is a memorable case or project that you have worked on? Feel free to alter details to protect confidential information.
My current project is by far one of the most challenging, and rewarding, that I have worked. Presently, my team is traveling the world to assist in reinforcing existing anti-corruption policies and controls. Throughout the project, I have had the privilege of learning the intricate workings of the world’s largest company. Beyond that, I have seen firsthand the difficulties cultural and ethical difference present when operating in the global sphere.
What activities or hobbies do you like to do outside of work?
I like trying new things and going to places off the beaten track. While at home, I enjoy reading, cooking and enjoying the beauty of Northwest Arkansas. When on the road, I love trying local delicacies and cultural activities.