How to Carry Yourself With Competence and Confidence

How to Carry Yourself With Competence and Confidence

“It’s very important to rely, not just on your competence, but also, to carry yourself with confidence.”

This quote is from ACFE Regent Bethmara Kessler, CFE. She shared it at the Women’s Networking Reception at the 29th Annual ACFE Global Fraud Conference. Her words touched many people at the conference, and they were specifically relevant to me. They set me on a path over the last year of exploring the concept of confidence.

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Mentoring Success Story: Steve and Melissa

Mentoring Success Story: Steve and Melissa

Stephen Pedneault, CFE, CPA, is the Principal of Forensic Accounting Services, LLC, a CPA firm focused exclusively on forensic accounting, fraud and litigation support matters. Through his investigative work, Steve has examined frauds ranging from a few thousand dollars to amounts well in excess of $5 million. Steve recently participated in the ACFE Mentoring Program, where he served as a mentor for Melissa Frausto.

Melissa, founder and owner of A Paper Trail, is a CFE with years of accounting experience but wanted to take her career to the next level by starting her own consulting practice. That’s where the Mentoring Program came in. She was looking for a mentor who could help guide her through this rocky, uncertain territory.

Together, Steve and Melissa forged a strong partnership that is still in place today. They have some wisdom to share with those who are considering joining the ACFE Mentoring Program.

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How to Step Up and Stand Out in Your Role

How to Step Up and Stand Out in Your Role

The theme of this year’s conference was Step Up, Stand Out. As I reflected on what that means to us as fraud examiners, I realized it was more than just a snappy phrase. There are a few trends in our profession that run parallel to this year’s theme.

Stepping up and standing out — two actions that can at times be uncomfortable and confrontational, but also exhilarating and rewarding.

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10 Ways to Successfully Transition from Law Enforcement to Corporate Life


Joseph Agins, CFE, Director, Ethics & Compliance Investigations
Apollo Group, Inc. 

Throughout my career in the corporate anti-fraud profession, I have had the opportunity to work with many former law enforcement professionals who transitioned into corporate security, fraud or investigative roles. Of course, there are many corporate roles where the training and skills gained in a law enforcement career are relevant and oftentimes desired. Often former law enforcement officers (LEOs) make a seamless transition into their new corporate roles and achieve much success, but not all seem to fare as well. I have witnessed the latter more times than I would ever have expected to, and I have long thought about why this is. Why is it that some seem to succeed and transition so easily and others don’t? I’m not sure I necessarily know the answer, but exposure to this for the last 16-plus years has given me some perspective. Here are some observations and tips from colleagues who have successfully made the transition to help you make yours.

  1. Conduct an honest and detailed assessment of your knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) to determine if the KSAs are at the appropriate level for a role in the corporate sector. Some people think that just because they are in law enforcement they can make the jump to the private sector. That may or may not be the case. An objective assessment of KSAs should ideally be done several years before your separation/retirement date to allow for filling any identified gaps, including advanced college degrees, certifications and presentation skills.
  2. Do your homework about a particular role and the company.
  3. Speak to people who have made the transition to learn from their successes and failures.
  4. Be prepared to relocate for the best opportunities, but also make sure you want to live in that area. If you are accustomed to living in NYC, will you be happy living in Arkansas?
  5. There is a false belief that life is better in the private sector. Determine why you want to leave law enforcement. If you are not happy in your current role, what makes you think you will be happy in a new role?
  6. Do not leave until it is a “stomach-heart-mind” process - in the “gut” (worn out, lost interest), you feel it (this is the right thing to do), and you think it through (you access the fiscal, lifestyle and other cost/benefits).
  7. Expose yourself to the corporate world before transitioning.
  8. Develop a strong résumé and/or curriculum vitae.
  9. Embrace change and keep up with technology. Former LEOs who I've seen fail have been those who think they know all there is and do not make learning a continuous activity.
  10. Do not jump to the first private sector opportunity just because it is the first job offer. Step back and fully assess if the new opportunity is best suited for you. Understanding that one size does not fit all is critical.

There will always be those who have a hard time adjusting to change. So, “law enforcement” and “corporate roles” aside, this is all primarily about understanding and successfully dealing with change. The change will be there regardless. It won’t be easy, and you will either get on board or you won’t. Those who refuse to accept the change and make necessary adjustments will have a tough road to hoe, while those who understand, expect, prepare and embrace change will have a path of much less resistance.

New Year's Resolution: ACFE Launches New Career Center on Website


When our members speak, the ACFE listens and responds. Over the past few months, we noticed our members and those interested in a career in fraud prevention asking for assistance and advice on topics like how to make smooth career changes, how to move up the corporate ladder and the best ways to begin a business. Through member e-mails and phone calls, and active social media discussion forums like the ACFE’s LinkedIn group, many people were looking for someone on a similar path to network with, bounce ideas off of and share their experiences with.


Seeing this need and interest, we decided to form a team of ACFE staff strictly devoted to enhancing the Career Center of this year. We compiled online resources and reached out to experts in the fields of fraud-fighting, career development, human resources and self-employment, just to name a few, to provide you with the tools you need to get the most out of your career. Whether you are Just Starting Out, Making a Career Change, Newly Self-Employed, Anxious to Get to the Next Level or Leaving Your Legacy, we hope you find the new Career Center valuable.

The ACFE Career Center includes the following new features:

  • Resources: read checklists, articles, blogs and publications unique to your career path
  • CFE Profiles: view candid interviews with CFEs who have walked in your shoes
  • Expert Q&As: gain insight from five hiring and career experts 
  • Career Paths: find out where you are on your career path

This blog post marks the initial roll out of this section of our website, so stay tuned and check back often because we have a lot more planned for 2011.

Have suggestions? Let us know in the “Comments” section.