Jaco de Jager is the CEO of the ACFE's largest chapter, the ACFE South Africa Chapter. Jaco manages a group that is responsible for more than 6,000 chapter members, and he most recently joined our Chapter Leaders Committee. When Jaco isn't helping spread fraud awareness in Africa, he is spending time with his family or playing rugby.
What do you do for a living?
I am the CEO of the ACFE South Africa Chapter. Our team drives not only the South Africa Chapter but also eight other African chapters, to whom we provide guidance, helping them increase membership and market their brand.
Why did you decide to enter the anti-fraud field?
We have a duty to ourselves and our children to help change the life we live in making it a better life for us all. Fraud touches us all in one way or another. No matter where you look, you’ll find it lurking somewhere behind a corner. I cannot tolerate discrimination, favoritism and the lack of accountability. This led me to decide to become a fraud fighter.
How has the CFE benefited your career?
CFEs are recognized locally as experts and are registered in the South Africa National Professional Database. It helps to be able to state that you are an expert not only by experience and qualification, but also designation. The CFE credential also assisted in helping me to think big. As a CFE and needing to keep up with my CPE, it helps me to stay sharp and identify more opportunities fraudsters can use to commit fraud. Lastly, being a CFE helps in linking up with fellow fraud fighters. I have managed to build up a vast database of experts I can use or ask questions when in need.
How long have you been involved with the chapter?
I have been with the chapter for 10 years.
Why did you become active with the chapter and the board?
When the position became available to be the first CEO of the local chapter, I decided to apply for it, knowing that I could make a difference. The ACFE shares my goals in getting people to work together and share ideas and trends to root out fraud and corruption. It further shared my dream to have a recognized profession in South Africa and globally, which regulates and supports fellow fraud fighters. I have not looked back ever since.
What has been a highlight of your time on the board?
I have had several highlights over the past 10 years. Among those would be the fact that we got local recognition for the ACFE South Africa Chapter as a professional body. We registered the international CFE Exam as a formal qualification, thereby ensuring those who passed the exam receive not only credential but also a qualification. We also registered the CFE credential through legislation to Ex Officio Commissioner of Oath status. Lastly, our chapter has grown from 800 members when I started to 6,500 active members and 11,500 members in our database.
What goals would you like to help the chapter accomplish?
I would like to see how, as chapters, we can work closer together to provide more benefits and tools to our members to do their jobs. We have started locally with several initiatives, which can easily be implemented globally to the benefit of us all.
Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
I know that a number of chapter leaders do this on a regular basis, where, late at night or before a new event, you ask yourself whether it is worthwhile to continue as leader or director. Well, it is. Remember that you pave the way for others, and as a leader, you must continue doing your part to do away with fraud and corruption. You form part of the unsung heroes. Keep going.
What is your personal motto? Does it have any special meaning?
In order to grow as a person, don’t compare yourself to others; rather compare yourself to your own self, as only then can you grow.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
Being married for 20 years and raising two beautiful boys. We tend only to work, and we forget to live. Having a family is my greatest achievement.
What are your favorite activities and hobbies outside of work?
Camping and rugby – hey, I am from South Africa!