Living By a Code as You Travel Down the Road


James D. Ratley, CFE
ACFE President and CEO

“You who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by …” We’re all on the road, and it sure makes the journey more bearable if we have a set of directions we can tack on the wall. (That opening line from Graham Nash’s “Teach Your Children” has helped a few parents through the years.)

CFEs have a Code of Ethics — it’s good for us to occasionally pull it out and remind ourselves that “Certified Fraud Examiners shall, at all times, demonstrate a commitment to professionalism and diligence in the performance of his or her duties.” That list reminds us — especially when we feel we’re rolling that stone up the mountain again — that our good efforts aren’t for naught.

The FBI has a list of Core Values that its employees pledge to follow. Those values include: respect for the dignity of those they protect, compassion, fairness and uncompromising personal and institutional integrity. 

Louis Freeh, when he was the bureau’s director, helped write that code because he wanted his people to be just and compassionate. “We who enforce the law must not merely obey it,” Freeh wrote in a message to his employees when he issued the code. “We have an obligation to set a moral example, which those whom we protect can follow. … [T]hese core values are the fiber, which holds together the vitality of our institution.”

When you read the the latest Fraud Magazine cover article on Freeh, you’ll see that he quietly tries to obey the FBI’s code even now as he runs his investigative firm. A married father of six, he still works to keep his wife and six children the top priorities in his life even though his job schedule hasn’t abated. I’m impressed that he’s been able to blend his law enforcement career with raising a large family.

[Freeh will be a keynote speaker at the 25th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference along with Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International; Martin Kenney, international asset recovery expert; and cyber-security expert Marc Goodman.]

Living by a code — it’s indispensable for CFEs as they travel down the road.  

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