Q & A with Armond Stewart, CFE

Armond Stewart of Texas became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Austin, TX. Since recently moving to Texas, Armond joined a running club for relaxation and enjoys participating in themed races. This past November, however, Armond focused on accomplishing his goal of obtaining the CFE credential. Armond feels that the training he received while studying for the CFE Exam will provide him with tools to better educate bankers on both fraud prevention and detection.

Coach:  When did you receive your CFE credential?

Stewart: I received my CFE credential in November of 2016 while attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Austin, TX.

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.

Stewart: Attending the review course and then sitting for the exam was the best option for me because it worked perfectly for my schedule. I could ask questions and listen to the instructors during the day and then take the test each evening without having to schedule another time to take the exam. The days were long, but everyone in the class supported and encouraged each other. It was worth it.

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

Stewart: I enjoyed meeting and talking with the participants. Our class was diverse, with representation across different countries, industries, and experience levels. I even got a chance to meet other people within my organization who work in other parts of the country.

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

Stewart: My current profession focuses on banking regulation. Unfortunately, banks are prime targets for fraud by people within and outside the organization. The preparation and ongoing training for my CFE credential will provide me with tools to educate bankers on both fraud prevention and detection.

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

Stewart: Two months before I sat for the on-site exam, I started reviewing the online review questions. I established a goal to review about 200 questions each week. Some weeks were better than others, so I would also review questions at the airport. I also reached out to colleagues who had their CFE, and they would periodically check in with me to make sure I was studying.  When I arrived at the review course, I felt prepared because I had answered all the review questions and taken all the practice tests. I knew the scores from my best and worst sections, so I was able to tailor questions to the instructors and listen intently to my weak areas. After class, I briefly reviewed the practice questions I flagged for the next day’s session. This method worked for me because my on-site test scores were higher than my practice test scores at home.

Coach:  Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Stewart: Yes, I would recommend this course to my colleagues. It’s a great way to learn more about investigative techniques, accounting transactions, and laws related to fraud.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Stewart: My career path includes experience as a commissioned bank examiner. I have investigated the financial loss and fractured trust related to fraud at several community banks. Unfortunately, the negative impact of fraud does not stay contained within the walls of the bank, but its impact is felt throughout the community as citizens attempt to understand how someone could abuse their authority for personal gain. As someone who works in banking regulation, I am passionate about educating bankers about internal controls and fostering a culture that restricts opportunities to commit fraud.

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?

Stewart: I recently moved to Texas, and as you can imagine, the summers are HOT. I joined a running club, and our group participates in many of the themed races in the spring and fall. Most of these races offer great food and drinks after the race, so it becomes a party at 9AM. It’s a great way to relax and get outside after a long work week.

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

Stewart: My biggest study tip is to start early. I believe creating and sticking to a study plan 2-3 months before the test will significantly reduce stress and prepare you to successfully pass each section. Also, don’t be shy about flagging practice test questions that you miss— those are the questions you want to review before the actual test.