Q & A with Kelly Pope, CFE

Dr. Kelly Pope of Chicago recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Chicago, IL. When Kelly is not teaching, she enjoys making films. But this past August, Kelly put some time aside to pursue the CFE credential. One of Kelly’s former students passed the CFE exam while enrolled in her course and he inspired her to take take the exam. As a forensic accounting instructor, Kelly always felt that having the CFE credential would be important and hope to encourage others student to also sit for the CFE Exam.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential? 
Pope:
I was certified on October 18, 2017.

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Chicago, IL, and following the course you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and then sitting for the exam immediately after.
Pope:
For my learning style, taking the exam immediately following the class was perfect. I was focused and determined. I had attempted the online questions/online review course prior to attending the class, but I found that for my learning style, it was better to hear the theory and then apply it to questions in comparison to just answering questions. I enjoyed the live instructors and the in-person class.

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course? 
POpe:
I enjoyed the instructors. They were gifted at giving you stories that helped you remember the important concepts during exam time.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession? 
Pope:
I teach forensic accounting at DePaul University and always thought that having the CFE credential would be important for my students to see. One of my former students, Jonathan Campbell, CFE, passed the CFE exam while enrolled in my course. He actually inspired me to take the exam. I hope that I can be a role model and encourage other students to sit for the exam. 

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day? 
Pope:
After class, I came home each night and reviewed the materials covered during class. I found that the nightly review helped me retain the information. I devoted 1-2 hours reviewing the course materials each night.

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues? 
Pope:
ABSOLUTELY. The live course was perfect for me. It allowed me to shut down for four days and focus. I highly recommend this approach.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud? 
Pope:
I am passionate about fighting fraud because I strongly believe that anyone can commit fraud. Fraud doesn’t have a profile; therefore, it is difficult to detect and prevent. I have always been attracted to a challenge and fighting fraud is definitely a huge task.

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it? 
Pope
: I am also a documentary filmmaker and my latest film is “All the Queen’s Horses.”

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?
Pope:
Be passionate about wanting to learn the ins and outs of fraud and you will pass the exam.

Q & A with Paige English

Paige English of Ohio recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Chicago, IL. When Paige is not working, she enjoys traveling, attending concerts, spending time with friends and family, and participating in new life experiences. This past August, Paige engaged in a new professional experience by putting some time aside to pursue the CFE credential. Paige plans on using the knowledge she gained from her studies when conducting investigations and interviews, and she believes that the certification has provided her with an additional skill set that will help her advance her career

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

English: I attended the CFE instructor-led course in August and passed all sections at the conclusion of the week. I received the official notification correspondence acknowledging my certification on September 22nd.

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Chicago, IL and following the course you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and then sitting for the exam immediately after.

English: The courses were extremely helpful to solidifying and enhancing my knowledge base as a result of the self-study preparatory coursework. I found the "real life" examples provided by each instructor infused with their own brand of humor particularly beneficial. I noticed a recall of information when taking the exam and even commented to one instructor that I heard his words resonating during the exam. While the course was intense with the volume of information covered, the format with the option for taking the exam immediately after the course was definitely advantageous to participants. Dividing content and testing by section was prudent and this strategy provided the opportunity for participants to retake exam sections during the week. 

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?

English: I truly enjoyed the instructors; they kept your interest and made the material easier to assimilate. I enjoyed hearing about actual interviews and the myriad of fraud schemes. Too many to count! We’ll be busy for a while. 

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

English: I will use the information I learned when conducting investigations and specifically, during the interview process. The techniques for interviewing and the types of fraud schemes will assist me with identifying patterns more readily than I would have prior to taking the course and receiving my credential. The certification has provided me with an additional skill set for career advancement. 

Coach:  How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?

English: I prepared for the on-site exam through remaining diligent by completing the preparatory coursework before the on-site class and exams. I felt much more prepared by allocating enough time to study several weeks before the actual class. I paid close attention to each instructor’s presentation and digesting the information and relating it to what I learned prior to the course. I didn’t spend additional time after class studying and simply reviewed a few key concepts that I may not have been entirely comfortable with the content. 

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

English: I will absolutely recommend this course!

Coach:  How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

English: I’ve always been passionate about investigating; it’s like solving a puzzle and trying to put the pieces together. My career has always included elements of investigational work and during my work in compliance I had the extraordinary opportunity to learn about healthcare from a different vantage point. This perspective gave me unique insights into the complex world of healthcare systems and billing. The media releases on The Department of Justice website pertaining to fraudulent activity truly gave me pause. My interest in doing something that would contribute to minimizing the risks and taking action to make a difference became very important to me at this juncture in my life. 

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

English: I love to be open to all possibilities in experiencing life! I like to try new things, this kicks in the creative part of me and contributes to enhancing my analytical abilities as well. I enjoy traveling, reading, zip lining, cooking, listening to music at outdoor festivals, attending concerts, hanging out with my friends and family and my dog (he’s a pug, named Checkers). I find all these pursuits enjoyable because they make me feel alive and happy!

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

English: Invest in the preparatory course before attending the course and commit to completion in advance. I felt this was the key to my success and I was able to place myself on a self-study schedule and reviewed material according to the suggested guidelines. Allow yourself enough time to digest the material and not rush through it. The pre-test for each section was very beneficial and quickly identified areas of strength and weakness to allow focus on relevant areas. 

I wish you all the best of luck and much success in securing your certification!

Q & A with Donn LeVie, CFE

Donn LeVie of Texas became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Denver, CO. When Donn is not working, he enjoys traveling and having a nice dinner with friends. But this past August, he put some time aside to focus on accomplishing his goal of obtaining the CFE credential. Donn hopes the CFE credential and the training he received while preparing for the CFE Exam will enable him to extend his speaking engagements into professions related to assessing fraud risk and detecting fraud. He also feels the CFE credential provides him with a better understanding of the issues and challenges facing organizations in his target markets. 

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential? 

LeVie: I was certified on August 10, 2017.


Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Denver and following the course you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe how you prepared to take the exam immediately after.

LeVie: I started out by taking the online pre-assessment to determine which areas I should prioritize. The review sections and practice exams helped further define where I needed to focus. 

 If you show up for the CFE Exam Review Course without having gone through the Prep Course, it will be very difficult to pass all four sections just showing up for the class without doing the prep work.  I also decided to enroll in the CFE Exam Review Course based on recommendations from many who had gone through the course.


Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course? 

LeVie: Of all the strategies I used to prepare for the CFE Exam, the CFE Exam Review Course was the most effective. It’s one thing to read the material, but to hear it in a lecture format, interspersed with videos and real-world stories from the great instructors, helps cement the content even more. One thing to take note of: Stories help you remember facts, and the instructors make plenty of use of actual instances that provide that real-world application of the information. 


Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession? 

LeVie: I do write feature articles for Fraud Magazine, and I want to extend my speaking into professions related to assessing fraud risk and detecting fraud (investigations, accounting, finance, compliance and ethics, etc.). So, in April, I decided I would take the exam. I felt the CFE credential would provide me with a better understanding of issues and challenges facing organizations in my target markets. 

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day? 

LeVie: I started by committing one hour a day to the online study tools and then switched to the hard copy manual for two hours a day (sometimes more), three to four weeks before attending the CFE Exam Review Course that was held in Denver in early August. I haven’t had to study this hard since grad school back in the early 1980s, so I dusted off my old study habits to see me through the upcoming weeks. 

Coach: To help focus my reading, I underlined every line that I read. It forced me to slow down and absorb the material, so I wasn’t just running my eyes over text and forgetting what I just read. 

LeVie: On the next pass, I used a highlighter over most of the content. I then took the online review for each of the individual subsections within one of the four major sections. It’s the equivalent of eating an elephant one bite at a time. I find that I retain more information by focusing on the small chunks rather than trying to bull my way through one of the four major sections all at once.

On the next pass through the course review guide, I used a checkmark or a five-pointed star to indicate that the particular content showed up in one of the review sections, making it likely I would see it again on the exam.


Coach:  Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

LeVie: Well, I like to do many things, but my top three are: (1) traveling to Europe (especially Spain) whenever we can; (2) enjoying great wine and food with friends; and (3) enjoying a great cigar or two on the weekends as a treat. Traveling exposes you to so many unique experiences, memories, and people. Great wine and food, when paired together properly, is a gastronomical pleasure that is a constant learning experience. Enjoying a great cigar—along with a fine liqueur—is a way for me to relax while reading or listening to music out on our deck. 


Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

LeVie: Two other suggestions for taking the exam: (1) Pace yourself, don’t get stuck on one question. If the answer doesn’t immediately jump out at you, move on to the next question. (2) Consider using foam ear plugs to block out the ambient noise in the room. I used them for all four exams and they helped focus my concentration. 

Do the upfront work and take the CFE Exam Review Course, and you’ll likely pass all four sections of the exam the first time through. 

Q & A with Amanda Redfern, CFE

Amanda Redfern of North Carolina recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Atlanta, GA. When Amanda is not working, she enjoys EM mining. But this past May, she put some time aside to accomplish her goal of obtaining the CFE credential. As director of quality control, Amanda feels that her new CFE credential will make her more aware of internal fraud in her organization. 
 

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Redfern: I sat for the exam in May and received my certificate in June 2017. 
 
Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Atlanta and following the course you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and then sitting for the exam immediately after.

Redfern: The on-site course is extremely informative, and the instructors are able to cover the relevant material  in a short amount of time. I felt more confident taking each section of the exam at the end of each day since the covered materials were fresh in my brain.  

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?

Redfern: The presenters! John and Alton provided great insight and examples from their careers that made the material that much more relevant. 

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Redfern: My new credential will give me an acute awareness of fraud in my organization.

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?

Redfern: I completed the CFE Exam Prep Course questions online prior to arrival to check my knowledge base. I then reviewed the next day's section the night before to familiarize myself with the material. 

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Redfern: Yes, I would recommend this course to my colleagues. 

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Redfern: I became passionate about fighting fraud by investigating a huge fraud case with a previous employer—it was fascinating to uncover and untangle the snowball of deceit.

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Redfern: I really enjoy EM mining! It is exciting—like a treasure hunt.

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Redfern: My main tip is to access your Prep Course and study the flashcard app if available! 

Q & A with Jean-Christophe Boitard, CFE

Jean-Christophe Boitard of Montreal, QC, recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Austin, TX. When Jean-Christophe is not working, he enjoys cooking for his friends and family. The relaxation he feels when preparing a meal helps to balance out his busy professional life. As part of that professional life, Jean-Christophe put some time aside this past November to accomplish his goal of obtaining the CFE credential. He has seen a positive difference since obtaining his credential and was even solicited by a headhunter who was specifically looking for a CFE. 

Coach:  When did you receive your CFE credential?

Boitard:  I was certified on November 18, 2016.

Coach:  You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Austin, TX and following the course, you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and then sitting for the exam immediately after.

Boitard: It was a very nice experience thanks to the organization of the ACFE, even if the days were very long and intensive. The written documentation that is distributed at the beginning of the course allows for taking notes and making keyword combinations easy to memorize at the time of the exam. The speakers have an extensive knowledge of the subjects, punctuated by real-life examples that facilitate understanding. Interaction with other students also helps a lot; in my case, knowledge of U.S. laws is purely theoretical and some mnemonic tips were welcome. The end-of-day examination requires a lot of concentration and good time management to answer all the questions before the time limit is up. Finally, receiving the exam results right after the end of the exam is very comforting before moving to the next day.

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?

Boitard: It is the whole package that makes the event work perfectly—the expertise of the speakers, the content of the course, the balance between the intensity of the course and the breaks, the quality of the organization, and above all the support and the kindness of the entire ACFE team.


Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Boitard: I have already been able to measure the positive effects in two cases—the first one with the investigators of the prosecutor's office and the second one with the syndic of discipline of a professional association. I was surprised at the end of January to be solicited by a headhunter who was specifically looking for a CFE because CFEs are not common in South America even though the demand is strong in an environment conducive to corruption. She was specifically looking for a CFE with experience in detecting and preventing conflicts of interest within engineering companies.


Coach:  How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?

Boitard: My preparation began before arriving in Austin. As failure was not an option, I studied the CFE Exam Prep Course for 90 days, for a total of about 150 hours, to improve my understanding and get familiar with the format of the exam questions before attending the CFE Exam Review Course. Then, I planned the trip to arrive in Austin on Saturday, review the quizzes for five hours on Sunday, and focus only on course delivery during the week without studying after class—you do not come to Austin only to stay locked in a hotel room every night!


Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Boitard: I became passionate about fighting fraud because of two separate events, about twenty years apart. The first was in secondary school when some students stole the answers to a difficult exam. Due to the lack of evidence to identify the students involved in the fraud, the professor decided to make the whole class retake the exam, which I felt was an injustice. The second time was when I was working for a bankruptcy trustee on a case involving a massive fraud that led many innocent employees to lose their job as part of a company’s restructuring. I felt these two events emotionally, although I carried out my audit work with a certain detachment between these two episodes. After the second event, I decided that I had to prevent and deter fraud to avoid its social consequences.


Coach:  Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Boitard: I love cooking! Cooking is a project that only takes a few hours but provides great relaxation during the preparation and an immense satisfaction when my family or my friends enjoy the meal. Whether it is an elaborate, improvised meal or something very ordinary to accommodate the leftovers, cooking provides balance with my professional life, where an investigation can last several weeks with unpredictable results.


Coach:  Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Boitard: After twenty years of experience in audit and investigation, we sometimes take a few shortcuts and develop bad habits. The planning and discipline involved in studying the CFE Exam Prep Course allowed me to deepen themes that I do not regularly practice and to familiarize myself with the format of exam questions. It is essential to plan (and execute) at least one hour of study per day to scan all subjects without being saturated with information in the last week before attending the CFE Exam Review Course. My personal routine was wake up, 45 minutes of gym, one hour of Prep Course studying before going to the office, and then 30 to 45 minutes of review before bedtime. Following the guidance in the Prep Course is also necessary.