Sonny Luypaert, CFE, ACA, has served as President of the ACFE Belgium chapter since January 2015. Born and raised in Belgium, Luypaert has worked more than 20 years in finance for U.S. multinational organizations, including CFO for Accenture Belgium; ECEMEA Regional Controller at Baxter; and CFO and COO at the Boston Consulting Group in Belgium, combining people management and operational effectiveness skills with risk management activities and fraud investigations. Today Luypaert is director of Triple-S Consulting. She provides management consulting in finance and fraud detection and prevention and continues to build her expertise in the private investigation area.
Why did you decide to enter the anti-fraud field?
As a young child I loved to listen to my aunt’s stories. She was one of the first female detectives in the Flanders region. Later, as a young accountant I discovered how a manager embezzled money from our company. After reporting the discovery to the external auditor, we investigated the case for local management. The stories of my aunt came to life and I found the passion for fraud-fighting.
Throughout my career in finance and controlling, I motivate people as the most important engine of the company to get goals accomplished, but I also realize how important it is to coach and guide them with a clear anti-fraud ethical culture. Despite excellent anti-fraud IT systems and processes, human beings remain the weakest element in the ring of security.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
On multiple occasions I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to learn and collaborate on very interesting topics. I have been asked to reshape organizations to ensure the right people are in the right positions, while motivating people to develop their strong skills even further and work in areas they feel passionate about. Some of my most important accomplishments include:
- At an important Belgian HR company, I got the opportunity to reshape the finance department in terms of people, roles and responsibilities, processes and procedures and IT support systems, while setting the key risk controls.
- At Accenture I worked with the regional team to outsource the accounting activities from BeNeLux to a European Shared Service Center in Dublin, Ireland. This improved processes and implemented necessary controls.
- At Baxter Healthcare ECEMEA, I developed and implemented a mini-Sarbanes Oxley kit to guarantee quality reporting and compliance from the region. I traveled to Eastern Europe and North African countries to train and coach the teams on the processes and risk management activities.
- In the Brussels Office of the Boston Consulting Group, I initiated the Information Management Program to ensure full confidentiality of client data and compliance with privacy laws and regulations.
How has the CFE credential benefited your career?
Studying for the CFE brought additional insight into fraud events and the continuing education material keeps me on top of important risks to focus on. I feel supported by the ACFE on new techniques and advice from people in the field. Real hands-on expertise is available amongst the ACFE community.
I travelled to Austin to pass the CFE Exam and visited the ACFE Headquarters and Fraud Museum, where I was welcomed warmly and got the opportunity to meet both Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, founder and chairman of the ACFE, and James D. Ratley, CFE, president and CEO. Both individuals encouraged me with their passion and drive for fraud-fighting.
What are the benefits of serving as a chapter leader?
I am only one year into the role, but have met very interesting and inspiring professionals, sharing experience and expertise. Presidents of fellow associations in Belgium are eager to collaborate and join efforts in order to get the “fraud auditor” function legalized in Belgium in 2016. CFEs should be able to use the additional local title when local privacy laws and a minimum set of regulations are understood and certified.
What goals would you like to help the chapter accomplish during your time on the board?
To strengthen and improve the reputation of ACFE Belgium, by broadening the audience and providing also a forum for non-auditors to share experiences – like investigators, insurance inspectors, and all those working and interested in the anti-fraud field, from both public and private organizations.
Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
Gaining the trust and support of all board members is key for success and making the chapter grow. You must agree on a realistic strategy for the chapter and get support of the board members to realize the change. I would also like to collaborate with other chapter leaders in neighboring countries to share our experiences to make the ACFE grow further in Europe.
What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my husband and family, staying connected with friends, playing golf, wine tasting, visiting friends abroad, and creative things like cooking, taking a theater course and scheduling the annual family vacation trip.
What is your personal motto?
Believe in what you are doing. Bring your message with passion and conviction. Do the right thing and lead by example.
Below are some pictures of Luypaert enjoying travel in Aruba, the Channel Islands and Finland.