Ann Petersen of Argentina recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Los Angeles. When she is not working, Ann enjoys traveling to different countries and spending time with her family and friends. This past July, however, she put some time aside to accomplish her goal of obtaining the CFE credential. Ann believes the knowledge she gained during her preparation will broaden her career possibilities as an auditor and will provide her with compliance offers and other opportunities.
Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?
Petersen: I received my CFE credential on July 29, 2016.
Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Los Angeles, 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.
Petersen: It was an intense course that’s very well designed for obtaining the CFE credential. Each day concentrated on a specific exam section and included technical knowledge, examples and tips. You could take a section of the exam at the end of each day just after reviewing that day’s content. Having lunch on-site with other students encouraged networking and sharing experiences with other colleagues. Flexibility was another thing I appreciated: I wanted to take the International Law exam instead of the U.S. one, so I was able to take it at my hotel online and get the results while I was at the course.
Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?
Petersen: The trainers were excellent. They shared real examples and offered extra help when someone needed it based on their professional background (accounting tips for lawyers, deeper law explanations for other types of professionals, etc.). The content taught each day highlighted the core information required to pass that section of the exam.
Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?
Petersen: I work in internal audit at a multinational company, so fraud-related skills are a must. I investigate fraud reports received through our ethics hotline, among other duties. Having the CFE credential — and the knowledge involved in getting it — is highly appreciated and broadens my career possibilities not only as an auditor, but also for compliance offers and other opportunities.
Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?
Petersen: I started studying two months before attending the course and tried to cover the four parts. While at the review course, I took a 20-minute break at the end of each day to clear my mind before starting the on-site exam.
Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?
Petersen: Yes, I have already recommended it to my colleagues.The course allows you to focus for four full days on achieving your goal of obtaining the CFE credential and encourages you to start studying ahead of time since you have already set the date you are going to sit for the exams. Having a demanding job does not always leave you with enough time to prepare for the exams by yourself.
Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
Petersen: Since I became an auditor, I was always fascinated with fraud and thought that more should be done by organizations to prevent fraudsters from getting away with their deceptions. Doing the right thing makes a difference. For the past five years, I was responsible for the ethics area in my company, and I enjoyed each day of work —investigating whistleblowers’ tips, celebrating solved cases and enduring the ones where evidence was not conclusive to catch the fraudster. When you start combating fraud, there’s no turning back — you love it!
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?
Petersen: I enjoy traveling with my husband to different countries where we discover new cultures and places. I love spending time with my family, especially my nieces. I also enjoy gathering with my dearest friends.
Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?
Petersen: Yes, look at the CFE Exam Review Course calendar on ACFE.com, book the one that most suits you some months in advance and get started. Take the pre-assessment test in the Prep Course to figure out your weakest section and begin with that one. Do not hesitate to begin this journey: You will not regret your decision, and your effort will be rewarded with the CFE credential.