How to rise through the ranks as a CFE
Are you a CFE or a newly certified fraud examiner? How do you gain instant recognition across the organisation especially at the senior and top executive levels? Why do some CFEs raise quickly through the ranks, while others tend to stagnate in the lower and middle levels?
How can a CFE have a direct reporting line to the Board, considering that investigation is more critical and high risk compared to audit? As a CFE, how do you show your value to all key stakeholders and grow your career and the profession?
The answer may not be something you think. Below are practical ideas for your career growth:
- Ensure the top management separates the fraud examination role from Internal Audit department. By mistake, many companies and organisations confuse the role of internal audit and that of fraud examination. That is poor governance. Internal audit entails ‘independent assurance…’ Internal audit should not and must not be combined with fraud examination as the two roles and completely different.
It is a responsibility of a CFE to write a paper and show a clear distinction of the roles. Money to a business is like blood to a body of any living thing. CFEs help stop the loss of blood from the body directly. Ask the senior management team (SMT) or EXCO to set up an independent Fraud Prevention Office to handle the fraud risk issues.
- Show the cost of fraud. While at a general management meeting, ask all staff to answer this question: “What do you estimate as the cost of fraud to this organisation?” If people give different answers, that is a good case for you to start a project of fraud risk awareness training. Ask for a budget quickly and start training each department on the extent of the problem and the measures to address it. If they give the same amount of loss, say “that is how much this company is bleeding.” Ask to implement controls like awareness, annual anti-fraud declaration, whistle blowing system and background checks. Effectively, you will be at the center of change. Keep in mind the ACFE annual fraud survey findings that an average company loses over 5% of her annual revenue to fraud: show this statistics.
- Champion fraud prevention initiatives. Send out weekly email tips of fraud prevention initiatives. Invite members of the local ACFE chapter to come and speak to your people on fraud management at a free cost. This promotes the chapter, your profile (since you get great professionals to pitch for you and how great CFE is). To ensure a right tone at the top, have the chapter leaders train the board on their role in fraud risk management. You will get instant recognition at the highest level since the local Chapter leaders will be introduced by you!
- Continue learning – read resources on ACFE.com, network and speak.