Q&A with Michele Barron, CFE

Michele Barron of Georgia recently became a CFE after attending a CFE Exam Review Course. Michele put some time aside to focus on accomplishing her goal of obtaining the CFE credential, as she believes that the CFE credential is a way to set herself apart from other auditors in her profession. The CFE credential identifies her specialization in fraud investigation and qualifies her skills and experience in that area. When Michele is not working, she enjoys taking mini weekend vacations with her husband.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?
Barron:
I earned my CFE credential on May 25, 2018.

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Atlanta, Georgia; 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.
Barron:
The Atlanta experience was intense and well worth the effort. Each day focused on a different section of the Fraud Examiners Manual and included stories of the presenters’ experiences. The classroom experience helped transform the material from conceptual ideas and theories to practical applications in the field, making it easier to understand the manual and be successful on the test. It was an open classroom experience in which students could ask questions, request clarification on topics, and get assistance as needed. Then, each day ended with additional time to independently review the material before taking the test. All tests were available should the student need to retake a failed test or test on another section.

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?
Barron:
I liked the fact that the tests were written instead of being online. I felt more relaxed in this environment and appreciated the ability to answer the more challenging questions last and focus on the more familiar questions first. I also liked that the tests were scored immediately so that I could leave that evening knowing whether I passed, which allowed me to relax before resuming the CFE Exam Review Course the following day.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?
Barron:
The CFE credential is a way to set myself apart from other auditors in my profession. The credential identifies my specialization in fraud investigation and qualifies my skills and experience in this area.

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day? 
Barron:
I began studying the material three months prior to the CFE Exam Review Course. With the use of the CFE Exam Prep Course, I began by taking the preassessment test to see which areas I should focus on. I completed several of the review questions in each section and took practice tests for all four sections before attending the on-site review course. Then, after the daily classroom presentations, I scanned my notes from that day’s session for about 30 minutes before sitting for the exam.  
 
Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?
Barron:
I have already recommended the course to my colleagues. The course makes it easier to focus on and understand the material in the Fraud Examiners Manual and to set aside time to complete the examination without unnecessary distractions. The on-site review course is also a great way to network and meet others interested in fighting fraud throughout the state and federal government, as well as in private industry.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud? 
Barron:
I was exposed to fraud early in my career with the IRS. Coordinating with fraud advisors and criminal investigators exposed me to a whole other area of investigations. I find working on cases that involve deliberate deceit and intentional actions more satisfying to resolve and get a feeling that justice has prevailed when individuals are held accountable for their actions.

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? 
Barron:
I am a travel enthusiast. When I am not traveling for work, my husband and I take mini vacations on weekends and plan big trips every couple of years. We have a bucket list of places throughout the world that we plan to visit. Unfortunately, the list seems to be growing faster than we’re checking things off. 
 
Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs? 
Barron:
Take the time out of your busy day to accomplish this goal. Make a plan and modify it as necessary, but you must keep the test a priority. In the end, it will be worth your time and effort when your signed certificate arrives in the mail.