By Bruno Pavlicek, Ph.D., CFE
Georgia State Chapter Chair of Student Affairs Committee and Incoming President
The Georgia Area ACFE Chapter, located in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia, has for the last four years successfully engaged college students, as well as post graduate professionals, in exploring career opportunities in fraud investigations and management. We have done this by holding our annual Fraud Investigations Career Day with our host, Mercer University, and our partnering sponsors: Georgia Southern University, Augusta University, University of North Georgia, and Valdosta University. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) is an organization that comprises an array of fraud professionals from all walks of life, be it through the private or government sector, our career events have served as an opportunity to expand attendees’ career horizons in these fields.
One distinct area that we have incorporated into our events is an environment of a career fair coupled with educational workshops and panel discussions featuring industry experts. We led off our morning sessions with private and government sector panels comprised of six experts each. Both panel discussions began with introductions of the panelists, coupled then with questions posed by the moderators, and finished by taking career questions from the attendees. The government sector panel featureed professionals in both the state and federal regulatory side of the industry, as well as in law enforcement. For instance, this year we had the FBI (forensics accounting team), SEC, Homeland Security, Georgia Division of Revenue, Georgia Department of Corrections (Financial Investigations Unit) and the U.S. Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General. In the private sector panel session this year, we had professionals from areas of forensic accounting, audit, private investigations, loss prevention, corporate security and information security. This year’s featured companies were Grant Thornton, Deloitte and Touche, Cox Communications, Game Stop, Astinel Security/Forensics and Georgia Power.
We also featured workshops hosted by an FBI polygraphist and their Cyber Crimes Unit, as well as the Georgia Inspector General’s Office, and the DeKalb County District Attorney’s White Collar Crime Investigations Unit. Something different that we employed this time was that we collaborated with a charitable organization called Career Quest. Career Quest is a ministry that is comprised of volunteer career coaches. The Career Quest group conducted résumé reviews for 50 attendees.
A career coach came in and spoke about effective job interviewing techniques. In turn, we made a charitable donation to Career Quest for their services. Additionally, we used this event as an opportunity to recruit new members while we were running a simultaneous membership drive for the chapter.
Although each year we try to do or offer something new, our key contribution to attendees is to educate and create awareness of the vast amount of career opportunities in the fraud fighting industry. More importantly, as we are cognizant of the fact that when people hear the term “fraud”, they equate the profession to a stereotype linked solely to the practice of forensic accounting. Nothing however could be further from the truth, because the term “examiners” in the ACFE’s name applies to anyone and everyone engaged in the fight against fraud. This is a significant point of education and a myth we try to dispel with our attendees, as well as potential new members to our chapter.
Enjoy the following pictures from the career fair. More images can be found on the Georgia ACFE website.