Q & A with Madisan Muth, CFE

Madisan Muth of North Carolina recently attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Washington, DC. Madisan enjoys living close to the beach and is looking forward to the warmer summer weather. This past March, she put some time aside to accomplish her goal of becoming a CFE. As an external auditor, Madisan believes her new CFE credential will assist in furthering her understanding of fraud-related red flags and concepts. The CFE credential has already helped her become a better auditor, which has benefited both her department and the taxpayers she assists.  

Coach:  When did you receive your CFE credential?
I received my confirmation email stating I could begin to use the CFE credential on April 1, 2016.
Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Washington, 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.
It was intense, but necessary for me. This four-day course is definitely a crash course. It is a great opportunity to be able to take an exam immediately after class each day. Exams are graded upon completion, so people know if they passed right away. There are also opportunities to retake exams while there. It might be the longest four days of your life, but the course is worth every minute. 
Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course? 
I really enjoyed the classroom setting. The speakers’ examples and videos were relatable, and the speakers really understand the course’s intensity and how much information people are taking in during those four days. They try to help everyone understand key concepts so people will pass the exam each day.
Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?
I believe my new CFE credential will assist me in further understanding red flags and concepts related to fraud. As an external auditor, fraud is always something I need to consider, and the CFE credential has really helped me become a better auditor. It has not only benefited my department, but has also allowed me to assist taxpayers in better understanding the laws. 
Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?
I began slowly studying about three months before taking the exam on-site. Two months before I attended the course, I really buckled down and studied hard. I took all of the review sessions and practice exams in the Prep Course. I would not recommend studying after class each day. You will be burned out by day four, so you should try to study as much as possible before attending the course. Take the nights off and just mentally prepare for the next day. It is a long four days, so try to separate each day by refreshing yourself.
Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?
I would definitely recommend this course to anyone. Even if you do the review sessions at home, the course is extremely helpful if you enjoy a classroom setting. With enough study time at home and the four-day review course, I was able to successfully pass all four exam parts after one attempt.
Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
Fighting fraud was something I stumbled upon and really grew to love. I originally went to school for criminal justice and returned for my accounting degree. I have a passion for both sides of the spectrum and believe becoming a CFE really completed what I have wanted to do since graduating from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW).
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?
I am looking forward to warmer weather and plan to take advantage of living close to the beach. My husband and I are expecting our first child in the fall, and we are really excited about and overwhelmed by becoming first-time parents. I wish there was a review course for that!

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?
I found doing all of the Prep Course review sessions and practice exams to be extremely helpful. I handled one section at a time and followed it with the practice exam. If you decide to take the exam online, I recommend at least taking the practice exams, because you will get used to each question being timed. Study before going to the four-day course. So much material is thrown at you during the course, and it is more beneficial to see the information as a review as opposed to seeing if for the first time. 

For aspiring CFEs contemplating taking the plunge and starting to prepare for the exam, I wish you the best.