Q & A with Stephanie Daniel

Stephanie Daniel of Arizona recently became a CFE after attending the CFE Exam Review Course in Austin, TX. When Stephanie is not working, she enjoys capturing interesting pictures and cycling. This past November, Stephanie put some time aside to pursue the CFE credential. Stephanie says having the CFE credential confirms her commitment to being the best she can be in her field as a financial crime investigation.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Daniel: I received my credential in December 2017.

Coach: You attended the CFE Exam Review Course in Austin 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.

Daniel: I had previously attempted to take the exam via the self-directed prep course, but I was finding it difficult to truly dedicate the time to sit down and effectively walk through the material without getting distracted by life. The review course was a great way for me to be able to review the information in a setting where the instructors provided context and were able to answer clarifying questions. I could then take the section of the exam covered in the day’s lecture while it was still fresh in my mind. 

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

Daniel: The instructors! The materials they prepared and the flow of the lectures literally brought the exam to life. For someone like myself who does not have a CPA, their ability to break down the basic accounting concepts into other relatable examples made a huge difference for me.

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

Daniel:  While I have been in the financial crime investigation field for over 20 years, having the CFE credential reflects my commitment to being the best I can be in my field. Once I was able to update my LinkedIn profile with my credential, I actually received a number of communications from recruiters who had roles to fill that required a CFE.

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

Daniel: I did spend time at the conclusion of each day’s lecture (about an hour) going back through my notes and sections of the course handouts to shore up any areas where I felt a little shaky.

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Daniel: I am a visual learner who can be easily distracted, so having dedicated time away from interruptions and work where instructors bring concepts to life was, quite frankly, the best option for me. I would absolutely recommend the course to colleagues! 

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Daniel: Funny story – I never envisioned myself as a fraud fighter when I was in high school – I was more interested in something having to do with music or art. By chance, I got a job with American Express handling fraud authorization calls in my early 20s, and I was immediately smitten with the idea of outsmarting and catching the bad guys. I’ve been in the financial crime compliance field ever since.

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?

Daniel: I like to spend downtime with my camera capturing things that I find interesting, and I also spend a lot of time cycling. Both activities feed my soul and allow me to be my naturally introverted self.  

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

Daniel: Once you decided to pursue the certification, make the commitment and hold yourself accountable to the timeline you set for yourself. It is so easy to keep putting it off for another day, and that day turns into two, four, etc.