Q&A with Janel Thompson, CFE

Janel Thompson of San Diego received her CFE credential this past August after attending a CFE Exam Review Course. Thompson enjoys spending time with her family and running 5K races. Thompson conducts fraud, waste, and abuse investigations, as well as internal audits, and feels that the information she learned while preparing for the CFE Exam will be invaluable in her current position.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Thompson: I received my credential in August 2019.

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Denver, Colorado, 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 afterward.

Thompson: It was intense! It made for really long days, but I’m glad that I sat for the exams after each section of the course. The exams were difficult, but taking them on-site, as opposed to online, enabled me to focus on the tests and not be distracted by my normal work responsibilities.

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

Thompson: The instructors! The breadth and depth of their knowledge were impressive. Plus, they explained the course material in a way that made sense to me and kept things interesting. It was a ton of information to cram into a four-day course, but they did a great job.

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

Thompson: I believe the information I learned will be invaluable in my current job. I conduct fraud, waste, and abuse investigations, as well as internal audits. Everything we covered in the CFE Exam Prep Course—from the Fraud Triangle to fraud risk identification and deterrence—will be helpful when I review documents, conduct interviews, and make recommendations to strengthen internal controls.

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

Thompson: I reviewed my notes and the slides from each day for about an hour after class. I was also mindful to take my time during the exam. I tried to ignore the other people that finished before me and just focused on taking the test and selecting the correct answers.

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Thompson: Without a doubt, I would highly recommend this course!

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Thompson: There have been many examples throughout my career that have proven to me that efforts deterring fraud are not wasted. From recovery of funds to deterring future deceptions, I am rewarded every day by knowing I helped ensure that our tax dollars are spent for their intended purpose. Continuing education is extremely important as we strive to stay one step ahead of potential fraudsters!

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?

Thompson: I love spending time with my family. I have two sons that keep my husband and me pretty active. We enjoy running 5Ks together, and there are specifically two that we run annually because they are very meaningful to us. I am always the last one in the family to finish, but my family is there cheering for me as I drag myself across the finish line. What a great way to spend a morning!

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

Thompson: Follow Mom’s advice: Get a good night’s sleep and eat your breakfast! But, seriously, there is so much information that is reviewed, and you need to be on top of your game to listen and learn all day and be able to take a one-hundred-question test afterward.

Q&A with Jodie Camp, CFE

Jodie Camp of Arizona received her CFE credential this past spring after attending a CFE Exam Review Course. Camp works in forensic accounting and feels that her new CFE credential will open new doors of opportunity and help her in fighting fraud. When Camp is not working, she enjoys working on puzzles for hours with her husband. She also loves dogs and spending time at the zoo.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Camp: I received my CFE credential in June 2019

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Nashville, TN, 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 CFE Exam immediately afterward.

Camp: The instructors were excellent. Basically, they reviewed all that I learned from the online CFE Exam Prep Course, but they made it easier to understand by sharing their own experiences and examples of fraud from the headlines. By sharing this information in relation to what was being reviewed, it helped to understand the information clearly and effectively.

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

Camp: The best thing about the Review Course is that you can take the exam after reviewing each section, when everything is fresh in your mind. In addition, some of the more difficult topics were reviewed in more detail, and you could ask questions or speak with one of the instructors during breaks if you did not understand something or, you could talk and/or review with fellow students.

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

Camp: I have been working in accounting all my life, more than 35 years. In 2018, I received my master’s degree in accounting, with a specialization in forensic accounting. I saw a position for a fraud examiner, and I asked myself: Why not enhance my experience and degree with a CFE credential to open new doors of opportunity and help fight fraud in the health care field or, more specifically, Medicare?

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

Camp: I prepared myself to sit for the exam on-site by utilizing the online Prep Course. I spent additional time after each class talking with fellow students and learning from their experiences. For the most part, I did not review the material after the class; I relaxed and let the information sink in, as there was a great deal of information that we went over each day. However, I did review the materials and my notes prior to each exam.

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Camp: I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to get into or advance their career in fighting fraud. Honestly, I would recommend this to anyone in accounting, as there is a great deal of information that can help someone recognize fraud—some of which I never would have imagined.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Camp: I became passionate about fraud while getting my master’s degree. The forensic specialization portion of my degree showed me that anyone can commit fraud. I was amazed by the amount of fraud committed by people and their reasons or reasoning for doing so. Sometimes it was blatant fraud, and other times it escalated and got out of control by one simple fraudulent act. Health care fraud seems to stand out a great deal, as I was surprised by the schemes by employees, doctors, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. I know I am only one person, but if I can make a difference in any way, I would like to try.

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?

Camp: Puzzles! Puzzles are my go-to fun! Not just 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzles—out back on the table, on the porch with my husband for hours on end—but accounting puzzles, auditing puzzles, fraud puzzles, and so on. Life is full of challenging puzzles, and I thrive on figuring out each one. I also love dogs and going to the zoo!

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

Camp: Everyone studies differently, but I found that utilizing all the resources that the ACFE offers is worth every penny, as well as getting involved with your local ACFE chapter. When you attend your local ACFE chapter events and/or seminars, guest speakers provide a great deal of information, and you will meet a lot of people who are currently working in fraud-related roles. That being said, my strongest suggestion is using the online Prep Course and taking the practice exams over and over until you've answered all of the questions in each section and can pass with a 90% or better. Also, be sure to read all of the information below each answer in the Review Sessions—this is especially helpful. If you don't understand, post your question on the discussion board because everyone is happy to help, or you can look it up in the ACFE’s Fraud Examiners Manual for more detailed information. CFEs, and CFEs-to-be, are a great community of people; they’re always there to help. Finally, after completing the Prep Course, I highly recommend going to the CFE Exam Review Course and taking the exams on-site.

Q&A with Tarun Mittal, CFE

Tarun Mittal of India received his CFE credential this past summer after studying with the CFE Exam Prep Course. Mittal is in the banking and finance industry and preventing fraud at the various levels of his organization is important to him. He says earning the CFE credential provides him an edge and authenticity.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Mittal: I was certified in July 2019.

Coach: Please describe your experience using the CFE Exam Prep Course?

Mittal: The Prep Course is one of the most customized tools for making one familiar with the CFE syllabus. It builds one’s confidence upon learning and understanding the various concepts and the course’s content. Reading the full Fraud Examiners Manual is a tough task, which is why the Prep Course is one of the finest programs to become familiar with what CFE is all about.

Coach: What did you like most about the Prep Course?

Mittal: 1. The variety of questions asked during the practice tests and the explanations of the various topics under the answers of the Review Sessions.

2. The capability of the Prep Course helps in accessing it and studying and practicing at any time. As it is said, “practice makes perfect.” Accessing the Prep Course at any time is beneficial to building confidence.

3. The Prep Course provides practice tests with timed questions. This helps with keeping track of reducing the time it takes to answer each question leading up to the actual CFE Exam.

Coach: How long did it take you to complete the Prep Course?

Mittal: I accepted the April–June 2019 90-Day Challenge and passed the CFE Exam well within the challenge’s timeframe. I purchased the Prep Course on March 15, 2019, and I took the first CFE Exam on May 19, 2019. I passed the final CFE Exam in June 2019.

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

Mittal: I am working as an assistant director, Credit/Risk and Investment, at SAARC Development Fund (SDF) in Thimphu, Bhutan. SDF is a regional financial institution and project financing is the core activity. As a risk professional, I constantly adopt the approach to conduct robust credit appraisals and involve in the most professional risk management activities by writing credit memorandums for the sanctioning of the various project finance proposals for SDF Management. Getting the CFE credential provides an edge, authenticity, and professionalism in the various activities I undertake at SDF. and now the same is reflecting in my day-to-day work.

Coach: Would you recommend the Prep Course to your colleagues?

Mittal: Yes, definitely. In fact, I would strongly recommend reading the Fraud Examiners Manual, if needed, along with the Prep Course to clear various doubts and build confidence for each and every topic of the CFE Exam content.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Mittal: During the last 14 years, while working in the banking and finance industry, I have been working on the areas that cover credit and risk management. In bank finance, under the entire life cycle of financing, loans, and advances, fraud can occur at any stage resulting in severe financial losses to financial institutions. This not only leads to financial losses but also the reputational and operational loss for the organization. Preventing the fraud at the various levels of financing and in the organization is important for me to perform my job in the most efficient and professional manner.

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?

Mittal: As the Fraud Examiner, I enjoy knowing that my profession helps me in becoming a prudent and vigilant citizen of the country.

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

Mittal: After you purchase the Prep Course, adjust your target dates for completing each Review Session of the respective section and start taking the tests for the completed section.

• Build the confidence on the concepts, start preparing for the Practice Test.

• On the Practice Tests start scoring above 80%.

• Download the Fraud Examiner Manual and other study apps for their all-time access.

• Once you start scoring repeatedly between 95%-100% , you should think of writing the actual exam.

This way , chances are high to clear the CFE Exam well within 90 days.

Q&A with Elizabeth Bourgeois

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Elizabeth Bourgeois of Louisiana received her CFE credential this past spring after attending a CFE Exam Review Course. Bourgeois feels that the CFE credential has enhanced her credibility as a financial examiner. When Bourgeois is not working, she spends a great deal of time as a volunteer banding waterfowl and assisting in attaching telemetry units to migrating ducks and geese.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Bourgeois: I was certified as a fraud examiner in May 2019.

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

Bourgeois: Even though I had practiced on the CFE Exam Prep Course and received high marks prior to testing, I still wanted to attend the Review Course. I’m very glad that I did because the interaction with the instructors and other students was of great value. I have a background in forensics and regulatory compliance, but there were a lot of things that the course covered that I had never worked with before. The instructors were awesome at relating the information, and that was crucial in making the concepts stick. Also, there was such a diverse group of people attending the class, which made for great feedback and multiple perspectives.

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

Bourgeois: The instructors! How they were able to take this type of material and make it so interesting and relatable was awesome. A lot of the stuff we covered is not necessarily interesting, if you get my drift. They were able to teach these concepts in such an entertaining way. I’ve attended many training schools in the past that were provided by regulatory agencies, but none were ever as lively and enjoyable as the Review Course in Washington, DC.

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

Bourgeois: It certainly enhances my credibility. The moment someone hears “Certified Fraud Examiner,” you can see a change in their posture. It conveys a seriousness and a sense of authority.

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

Bourgeois: I took the online Prep Course beforehand. I immediately took the test each day after class. I was well prepared after the day’s lecture.

Coach: Would you recommend the Review Course to your colleagues?

Bourgeois: Absolutely, I will recommend this course to my colleagues.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Bourgeois: I went to work as a bank examiner the Monday after I graduated from college. I loved it! Every audit was a new challenge. It’s like solving a psychological thriller—only with financial clues!

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?

Bourgeois: I spend a great deal of time as a volunteer banding waterfowl and assisting in attaching telemetry units to migrating ducks and geese. I get to touch a lot of wild birds who fly over 10,000 miles a year. It’s pretty amazing.

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

Bourgeois: Pay attention to your instructors; they are the backbone of getting you through this.

 

Q&A with Edward Ofori, CFE

Edward Ofori of Finland became a CFE after preparing for the CFE Exam with the CFE Exam Prep Course. Ofori became interested in fraud when someone close to him fell victim to a Ponzi scheme, giving Ofori the desire to pursue a career in fighting fraud. So this last year, Ofori put aside some time to focus on accomplishing his goal of obtaining his CFE credential. Ofori says obtaining the CFE credential has given him the authority to make recommendations concerning fraud-related issues to his employer. When Ofori is not working, he enjoys watching football and spending time with his friends and family.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Ofori: I received my CFE credential on May 25, 2018.

Coach: Please describe your experience using the CFE Exam Prep Course.

Ofori: My experience using the Prep Course was phenomenal. I was a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners for almost a year, and when I decided to take the CFE Exam, the Prep Course gave me a smooth passage in reaching my desired destination.

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

Ofori: I consider the Prep Course a passport with valuable information that helped me pass the CFE Exam on my first attempt. The structure of the Prep Course is very clear and simple, and it articulates the most important points and covers the vital concepts from the Fraud Examiners Manual.

Coach: How long did it take you to complete the Prep Course, and how often did you study?

Ofori: It took me about two months to complete the Prep Course, which included studying all four sections of the course and taking the practice test for each section three times. I studied almost two hours every day.

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

Ofori: Obtaining the CFE credential has given me so much authority in making recommendations concerning fraud-related issues to my employer, and I am now being respected as an expert with in-depth knowledge about fraud.

Coach: Would you recommend the Prep Course to your colleagues?

Ofori: There is no doubt in my mind when it comes to using the Prep Course because it is filled with priceless information, and the simplicity of its structure made it easy for me to learn. So, yes, I would recommend the Prep Course to my colleagues who want to obtain the CFE credential.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Ofori: My desire to fight fraud was born out of the damage I experienced with close family relations who fell victim to Ponzi schemes in Ghana. The many lives, dreams, and futures that were destroyed by investing in Ponzi schemes gave me the desire to pursue a career in fighting fraud.

Coach: When you’re not fighting fraud, what do you like to do for fun, and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Ofori: I have a passion for football. I support Manchester United, so when I am not working, I spend time with my friends and family watching football and analyzing the games.

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

Ofori: My advice to aspiring CFEs is that it pays to fight fraud; the joy you feel when you uncover a fraud that could have damaged a company or people’s lives is incalculable. When studying, try to understand the concepts very well. Memorizing the answers in the Prep Course will not be the right approach because, though similar, the questions are not the same.