Janette Ross of Florida recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Austin, TX. When Janette is not working, she is making organic soap and home cleaning products to sell at local farmers markets. This past November, however, she put some time aside to accomplish her goal of obtaining the CFE credential. Janette believes the certification will make her an excellent candidate to become the State's Chief Auditor.
Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?
Ross: 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.
Ross: Working full-time with the Office of the Attorney General, Pam Bondi, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit as the North Florida Audit Supervisor definitely presented a challenge and required discipline for me to set aside time for the self-study course. I am a CPA and know the importance of studying for a comprehensive exam. Because I wanted to be successful the first time, I purchased the entire package, including the in-person CFE Exam Review Course in Austin, Texas. The flashcard app was very beneficial, as I could study while waiting for my children during their sports practices or a long car ride. I was able to study anywhere I went. In addition to studying with the online Prep Course, I knew attending the CFE Exam Review Course would provide the additional focused learning that I would need to pass the first time. The format of the review course was ideal. Spending the day studying a specific section topic and taking that section's test on the same day allowed for the information to be fresh in my mind. Leaving each evening knowing I passed that day's section was great! Additionally, there was time in the evening to retake the section online and at the end of the week, if needed. Finally, there were so many more benefits provided to the participants of the course. I definitely would recommend the four-day review course to anyone interested in becoming a CFE.
Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?
Ross: The instructors were very engaging and provided real-life stories and examples.
Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?
Ross: My goal is to become the State's Chief Auditor. I believe having my CPA and CFE makes me an excellent candidate for this position. I now have broader knowledge, not only of fraud schemes, but also of investigative techniques and the legal aspects of fraud.
Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?
Ross: I spent time preparing for the exam prior to the four-day review course using the online Prep Course, the study guide, and the flashcard app. I spent very little time after each class studying. In fact, after each day's review and exam, I totally decompressed by exercising and watching TV. One evening I even got a massage.
Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?
Ross: Yes, I would absolutely recommend this course.
Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
Ross: During my entire career as a CPA, I have focused on audit, compliance, fraud prevention, and fraud deterrence in the health care industry. Spending my early years at KPMG, LLP, ignited my interest in Medicare and Medicaid compliance. Knowing that these programs help the most vulnerable of U.S. citizens—the elderly, disabled, and medically and financially needy—as well as reading so many news articles about the extensive fraud and abuse these programs experience, made me want to make a difference. When fraud is committed against these programs, the perpetrators steal from every taxpayer in our country. Being a part of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit in Florida has been the most rewarding position I have ever had in my career.
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?
Ross: I have a hobby of making organic, sustainable, artisan soap and home cleaning products that I sell at local farmers markets. I like making a product that has no chemicals or harmful ingredients, as well as meeting and helping people who want to eat and live sustainably with less chemicals and preservatives.
Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?
Ross: As a mother of two teenage girls, a wife, and a full-time employee, I found it helpful to find balance. I had the study guide at my bedside table for my nightly reading, used the flashcard app every chance I got, and set aside a couple of hours each Saturday to do the online Prep Course. I attended the in-person review course in Austin, Texas, to bring it all together and passed all four parts the first time!