Take Your Training to the Next Level


Charles Piper, CFE, CRT
Owner, Charles Piper's Professional Services

Several years ago, before retiring from federal service, I attended an interviewing course for law enforcement officers. I had completed a few interviewing courses before that one, but this particular instructor’s approach was different. The trainer began his introduction by asking our group several basic questions:

Instructor: “How often do you train with your firearms?” Most of the responses were, “Once per quarter.”

Instructor: “How many times have you shot your weapon in the line of duty?” Nobody said a word. The instructor eventually dragged out of us that no one in the room had ever shot their weapon in the line of duty.

Instructor: “How often do you train using your handcuffs?” Most of the students again responded, “Once per quarter.”

Instructor: “How many arrests do you make per day?” The responses varied from one or two per day to one per week and one per month.

Instructor: “How many of you conduct interviews?” Everyone in the class raised their hands.

Instructor: “How many interviews do you conduct a day?” The responses varied from a few to a couple of dozen every single day.

Instructor: “How many of you have previously completed interview training?” Surprisingly, only about half of the students raised their hands.

Instructor: “How many of you would you agree that interviewing is a tool?” All of the students raised their hands.

Instructor: “Isn't that interesting? You all agree that interviewing is a tool. You practice with some of your tools. You practice using your firearm on a quarterly basis, but you never shoot it while on duty. You practice using your handcuffs on a quarterly basis, but you might only use them once a week on average. But you conduct lots of interviews every day and some of you have never received any training on how to use that tool or last received such training when you went through the police academy years ago.”

The instructor made me realize that the training needs of all investigators, fraud examiners and law enforcement officers are not being met, even after they’ve completed all required training. Is that because of a lack of training opportunities, or is it because of a lack of pursuit of training opportunities?

With a brand new year upon us, wouldn’t it be wise for us all to strive to improve our existing professional skills? Even seasoned professionals like me (who just happen to be members of AARP) can still learn a thing or two by taking advantage of training opportunities.

For example, new technology and anti-fraud software keeps getting better (and for me more complicated). Those of us who are fortunate enough to be members of the ACFE have access to some of the world’s best formal anti-fraud training, webinars, podcasts, books and annual conferences. The bi-monthly Fraud Magazine provides great insight from professionals who investigate and examine industries that sometimes I didn’t even know existed.

As you know, those of us who are Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) also have requirements to earn a certain number of Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits on an annual basis. Unlike some professional organizations, the ACFE provides us with a smorgasbord of training opportunities year-round, held at various locations around the world. You know the type of training that you enjoy — why not stretch it a little? Ask some other fraud fighters what they thought of a course you’re considering taking.

Prior to opening my own private investigation and consulting company, I developed somewhat of an expertise in the investigation of health care fraud, bribery and corruption, and contract and procurement fraud. The ACFE offers training courses in all three.

The schemes used by fraudsters in those areas are fascinating, and the ways to launder money to pay bribes, kickbacks and hide assets are ever-changing. In my opinion, you can never get enough interview training (which the ACFE also offers).

Are you taking advantage of training opportunities so that you can, to quote an old Army slogan, “Be All You Can Be” — or are you doing just enough to get by?

This is a new year, a year to progress, and by improving our professional skills this will be a year that even more fraudsters pay the price for their misdeeds.

Knock out your CPE at one of our upcoming live events: Bribery and Corruption in Phoenix, Jan. 26-27; Auditing for Internal Fraud in San Antonio, Jan. 29-30; and, Using Data Analytics to Detect Fraud in Orlando, Feb. 12-13. View a full list of our upcoming events and products in the latest ACFE Resource Guide.