Careers: Business/Career Plan

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Question
I am seeking direction concerning my career path. I have about 5.5 years of government audit/consulting experience (internal and external). I also have my CFE and CICA. I am very interested in doing more work pertaining to fraud investigations. How would I go about making a transition from consulting to fraud investigations, while still remaining in the government space? What experience might I need? Also what additional education might be useful? I am considering the CPA and have plans to start studying soon but would like to have a clear plan and make the best use of my time. Please advise as I work on my future career plan.

Answer

If   you  have the  aptitude  and  the  attitude for  this job,
you  can  make  a  good  career  out  of  this.
YOU  HAVE  DEVELOP  SKILLS/COMPETENCES  IN
-analytical  thinking  
-problem solving
-arriving at  a  decision
etc.
THIS  SET  OF SKILLS HELPS  A  LOT  IN  FRAUD INVESTIGATION.

AN  ADDITIONAL  SET  OF  QUALIFICATIONS, WHICH
CAN  CONSOLIDATE   YOUR   CAREER  PATH

-accounting  qualification  or
-law  [ criminal  law  or company  law ]

CPA  IS  AN  USEFUL  COURSE  AND  WOULD  ADD  VALUE  TO  YOUR RESUME.


BUT  A  DEGREE  IN  LAW [ SPECIALIZATION  ]
WOULD  BE  MORE  USEFUL TO    YOUR  RESUME  AND  CAREER   IN  FRAUD  INVESTIGATION.

FRAUD  INVESTIGATION   IS  A  CAREER  AND THERE  ARE  CAREER  OPPORTUNITIES  IN
-banking
-insurance
-large  consulting  firms  like  PWC  etc
-private  investigation   agencies

SO  IT  IS  NOT  A  GOVERNMENT  MONOPOLY.

THE  REASON  BEING:



In the wake of far-reaching scandals such as Enron and WorldCom, and sweeping legislation like the Sarbanes-Oxley act, there is a growing demand for individuals with fraud examination skills who can help organizations in the detection and deterrence of fraud.
Fraud examination professionals can follow many different career paths.
To succeed in this dynamic and competitive field, you need to master four fundamental areas of knowledge:
Criminology
• What motivates people to commit fraud?
• How can people be deterred from committing fraud?
Financial Transactions
• How is fraud committed?
Fraud Investigation
• How can fraud be detected?
• How is information and evidence of fraud collected and documented?
Legal Elements of Fraud
• How does the law affect investigating and prosecuting fraud?
• What legal options exist to recover lost money?
In order to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), you must demonstrate competence in all four areas on the CFE Exam.
================
Fraud examiners represent a variety of careers and professional backgrounds. The sample career profiles below offer information on the types of services performed by these professionals, and the skills, characteristics and specific areas of knowledge necessary to perform the job.
-FORENSIC  ACCOUNTANT
-GOVERNMENT  ACCOUNTANT
-INDEPENDENT   AUDITOR
-INTERNAL  AUDITOR
-INVESTIGATOR
-LAW  ENFORCEMENT

In order to promote high standards of professionalism and ethics, the ACFE requires candidates for the CFE Exam to meet certain professional, academic, and character-based criteria.
Do I Meet the Qualifications for Becoming a CFE?

1.Forensic Accountant
Forensic Accountants combine their accounting knowledge with investigative skills, using this unique combination in litigation support and investigative accounting settings. Forensic Accountants may be employed by public accounting firms’ forensic accounting divisions, by firms specializing in risk consulting and forensic accounting services, or by lawyers, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, government organizations, or financial institutions. Due to society’s heightened awareness and growing intolerance of fraudulent activity, demand for forensic accountants is rapidly increasing.
Engagement Area Examples
•   Money laundering
•   Insurance claims
•   Employee fraud investigations
•   GAAP violations
•   GAAS violations
•   Telemarketing fraud
•   Check kiting v
•   Contract and procurement fraud
•   Asset misappropriation
•   Securities fraud
•   Financial statement fraud
•   Bankruptcy fraud
•   Credit card fraud
•   Embezzlement
Types of services performed
•   Financial data analysis
•   Evidence integrity analysis
•   Computer application design
•   Writing reports
•   Compiling information
•   Testifying as an expert witness
•   Eliciting other experts’ assistance
•   Maintaining documentation
•   Damage assessment
•   Tracing illicit funds
•   Locating hidden assets
•   Due diligence reviews
•   Forensic intelligence gathering
•   Business valuation
Useful skills, characteristics and subject areas of knowledge
•   Accounting procedures
•   Legal system and its procedures
•   Present value and discount rates
•   Regression analysis
•   Computer applications
•   Interpersonal communication
•   Oral communication
•   Written communication
•   Summarize results
•   Research skills
•   Detail-oriented
•   Analytical
•   Professional skepticism
•   Professional judgment
•   Professional competence
•   Integrity
•   Objective
•   Independent
•   Credible
Education and Training
•   Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in Accounting
•   Additional education in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement
•   Certified Public Accountant designation
•   Certified Fraud Examiner designation
=======================================================
2.Government Accountant
Government accountants are employed at all levels of government (federal, state, and local), and may even work for a not-for-profit organization. At the federal level, government accountants may investigate white-collar crime allegations, perform financial statement audits for government agencies, or conduct research on emerging accounting issues. At the state and local levels, government accountants often perform financial, performance, and compliance audits, recommending corrective action where needed.
Types of services performed
•   Financial Statement Analysis
•   Efficiency assessments
•   Regulation compliance
•   Budget development
•   Financial data examination
•   Report preparation
Useful skills, characteristics and subject areas of knowledge
•   Analytical
•   Interpersonal communication
•   Written communication
•   Oral communication
•   Overall business function
•   Interpersonal communication
•   Oral communication
•   Written communication
•   Computer Systems
•   Computer applications
•   Government structure
•   Government function
•   Independence
Education and Training
•   Bachelor’s degree in Accounting
•   Additional education in Communication and Government
•   Certified Public Accountant designation
•   Certified Fraud Examiner designation
================================
3.Independent Accountant
Independent auditors analyze, review, and develop an opinion asserting the reliability and fairness of their clients’ financial statements, communicating this information to external users such as investors, creditors, and government organizations. In addition, independent auditors may perform a variety of auditing, tax, and consulting services for their clients, who may be individuals, corporations, government, or not-for-profit entities. However, since Sarbanes-Oxley was created in 2002, independent auditors are restricted to the types of services they can perform for clients they also audit. Independent auditors may work for public accounting firms or be self-employed. Many independent auditors are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) or Chartered Accountants (CAs).
Types of services performed
•   Examine financial statements and related financial data
•   Analyze business operations and processes
•   Provide recommendations on achieving greater efficiency
•   Evaluate company assets for impairment and proper valuation
•   Determine tax liability, ensuring compliance with tax code and laws
•   Communicate to external parties the financial health of the client
Useful skills, characteristics and subject areas of knowledge
•   Computer systems
•   Mathematical skills
•   Working in teams
•   Analytical
•   Ability to problem solve
•   Detail-oriented
•   Written communication
•   Verbal communication
•   Professional skepticism
•   Assertive
Education and Training
•   Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or related field
•   Master’s degree may be required for certain jobs
•   Certified Fraud Examiner designation
============================
4.Internal Auditor
Internal auditors work for the company they audit, unlike external auditors, who are hired independently to audit the company’s financial statements and perform a review of the internal control structure. Internal auditors verify internal controls are in place and functioning properly to deter fraud. Internal auditors conduct compliance and operational audits, offering solutions for weaknesses in internal controls and verifying that all laws and regulations are upheld. Many internal auditors hold the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) designation, while others hold the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.
Types of services performed
•   Review financial statements and other financial data of company
•   Offer financial planning and budgeting recommendations to management
•   Observe industry trends
•   Track revenues and expenditures
•   Business operations testing
•   Prepare uncertified financial statements
•   Maintain documentation proof
•   Make efficiency-increasing recommendations
•   Provide recommendations for and oversee implementation
Useful skills, characteristics and subject areas of knowledge
•   Components of financial statements
•   Cash basis accounting procedures
•   Accrual basis accounting procedures
•   Oral Communication
•   Written Communication
•   Problem-solving skills
•   Critical thinking skills
•   Detail-oriented
•   Drawing conclusions from raw data
•   Computer applications and their functions
Education and Training
•   Bachelor’s degree in Accounting
•   Certified Internal Auditor designation
•   Certified Public Accountant designation
•   Certified Fraud Examiner designation
================================
5.Investigator

Investigators may work for local police departments, the Federal Government, or as a Private Investigator. They may possess physical security responsibilities, though they mainly are responsible for the investigation part of a fraud examination, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses and suspects. In addition to their fraud engagements, investigators typically have routine engagements unrelated to fraud.
Types of services performed
•   Investigate claims determining responsible parties
•   Perform background information checks
•   Analyze information collected during investigations
•   Assess damages
•   Prepare reports summarizing investigation findings
•   Detailed review of documents
•   Compile information from investigation, interviews, and evidence
•   Gathering evidence
•   Property inspection
•   Searching legal records
Useful skills, characteristics and subject areas of knowledge
•   Critical thinking
•   Written and oral communication
•   Court procedures
•   Government regulations
•   Active listening
•   Drawing conclusions
•   Flexibility
•   Information evaluation
•   Data analysis
•   Problem solving
•   Rules of evidence procedures
•   Interviewing techniques
•   Investigation techniques
•   Negotiation techniques
Education and Training
•   College degree
•   On-the-job experience is most beneficial
•   Certified Fraud Examiner designation
===========================
6.Law Enforcement
Individuals working in Law Enforcement are central in the investigation step of the fraud examination process. Law enforcement individuals perform a variety of tasks, such as collecting evidence and testifying in court. Individuals in law enforcement may work for the State or Federal government as a special agent, while others may work for local police departments. At times, they may even work undercover. The nature of work often depends on place of employment, location, size of organization, in addition to a variety of other factors. Special Agents may specialize in a particular area, or work in a variety of different fields.
Areas of Investigation
•   White-Collar crime
•   Organized crime
•   Financial crime
•   Bribery and corruption
•   Money laundering
•   Counterfeiting
•   Fraudulent documents
•   Credit card fraud
•   Types of services performed
Types of services performed
•   Conduct surveillance
•   Evidence collection
•   Conduct interviews
•   Record examination
Useful skills, characteristics and subject areas of knowledge
•   Writing reports
•   Attention to detail
•   Functions in stressful situations
•   Alert to surroundings
•   Understands associated risks
•   Honest
•   Sound judgment
•   High integrity
•   Responsible
•   Strong judge of character
Education and Training
•   Physical Examination
•   Written exam, previous experience and education-factors in appointment
•   Background check
•   Personality test
•   Polygraph test
•   Drug test
•   Rigorous training program
•   Specific organizations may have own requirements
•   Certified Fraud Examiner designation
================================
CFE Skill Set
The CFE process focuses on four bodies of knowledge critical to the fight against fraud: Financial Transactions; Investigation, Law, and Criminology. CFEs have the ability to:
•   Understand how fraud is committed and how it can be identified;
•   Examine books and records to detect and trace fraudulent transactions;
•   Interview suspects to obtain information and confessions;
•   Write investigation reports, advise clients as to their findings, and testify at trial; and
•   Understand the underlying factors that motivate individuals to commit fraud.
What do CFEs do?
Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs) perform a variety of services in many different industries throughout all sectors of an organization. They are part accountant, part investigator, part attorney, and part criminologist.
Job Title Examples
•   External Auditor
•   Internal Auditor
•   Forensic Accountant
•   Audit Specialist
•   Information Systems Auditor
•   Audit Consultant
•   Management Consultant
•   Technical Specialist
•   Financial Analyst
•   Financial Specialist
•   Special Agent
•   Private Investigator
•   Legal Investigator
•   Security Consultant
•   Director of Loss Prevention
•   Fraud Analyst
•   Fraud Investigator
•   Risk Manager
•   Tax Manager
•   Bankruptcy Analyst
•   Compliance Officer
Industries with Highest Percentages of CFEs
Service
•   Public Accounting, Accounting, and Bookkeeping
•   Services Management Consulting
Financial
•   Banking & Financial Institutions
•   Insurance Carriers, Agents, Services
Government
•   State and Provincial
•   Federal and National
Types of Services Performed
•   Examine records for fraud
•   Interview suspects
•   Write reports
•   Present investigation findings
•   Testify in court
•   Conduct background checks
•   Investigate employee theft
•   Forensic accounting
•   Data recovery
•   Conflict of interest investigations
•   Insurance claim investigations
•   Financial statement analysis
•   Business valuation
•   Calculate damages
•   Litigation support
•   Corporate investigations
•   Locate hidden assets
•   Reconstruct accounting records
•   Computer forensics
•   Transaction analysis
•   Review of financial statements
•   Litigation support
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