CPE - Continuing Professional Excitement?

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By: Cassandra Elgersma
User Icon CPA, ABV, CFF, CFE, Schechter Dokken Kanter
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As is true for most any professional decision, there are a number of important reasons to consider forensic accounting as a career direction. But in addition to the big things, there are always those great little benefits that no one talks about until you’re within the ranks. So today I’ll let you in on our little secret perk. Become a forensic accountant, and you’ll enjoy the best CPE (Continuing Professional Education) around.

CPA’s, and most professionals of any type for that matter, are required to obtain a certain amount of education on a regular basis through their career in order to remain well-informed and relevant as they serve their clients. This is a valuable stipulation and helps to uphold the well-deserved respect and credibility of CPAs as a whole. But many CPAs will readily admit that sitting through hours of lectures on like-kind exchanges – or any topic for that matter – can feel a bit “taxing” (pardon the pun) when your days normally consist of intellectual challenges, client interaction, and a smattering of other tasks. Not so for the forensic accountant.

I’ve just returned from the AIPCA’s annual CPE conference for the forensic and valuation services area. For starters, this year’s conference was in Las Vegas. Not too shabby. But more importantly, we were privileged to hear from an impressive variety of speakers that has become the standard for Forensic Accounting CPE. Seasoned professionals laid out some of the tried and true methods for tracking down hidden assets. Consultants from the Enron trial walked us through some of their biggest challenges in distilling a mind-numbingly complex financial fraud into straightforward visual exhibits that eventually led to guilty verdicts. Former FBI agents engaged the audience in a discussion of interrogation practices and things to watch for to discern truth from lies. One of the CFO’s convicted in the Health South financial reporting fraud walked us through his path from upstanding CPA to convicted felon (a path that required the manual entry of over 100,000 fraudulent journal entries each period)! For many of us working to grow our own practices in this area, we learned how to take a lesson from panda cheese in making “word of mouth” work for us. And woven throughout these and many more great presentations was story after story of interesting cases, challenges, and convictions.

So now you know the secret. Come join the club!

Cassandra Elgersma specializes in helping attorneys and their clients figure out the dollar effect of their legal issues. She is a manager at Schechter Dokken Kanter with over a decade of experience in audit, tax, accounting and consulting. Her services include economic damage calculations, business interruption damages, forensic accounting, business valuations, assistance with discovery, various projections, and other unique litigation and consulting needs.
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