ACFE Member Profile
Daniel Worrell, CFE
Director of Internal Controls, New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Daniel Worrell, CFE, progressively and consciously grew his career from his first job out of college to his current position as the Director of Internal Controls at the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “My first exposure to the anti-fraud field was as an auditor for the New York Office of the State Comptroller,” says Worrell. “Solving or mitigating internal control weakness has been something that I enjoy. From that initial exposure, I have made sure that every job that I have held since has included some level of anti-fraud responsibility.” Here, he shares his tips to help his colleagues succeed in their careers whether they are in the beginning stages or seasoned professionals.
What is your current role and what does it entail?
My current role is Director of Internal Controls for the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) with specific responsibilities for the MTA Capital Construction Company, which manages more than $15 billion in construction on behalf of MTA. My overall responsibilities include oversight of internal controls, integrity monitoring, construction fraud detection, ethics and compliance, policy development and vulnerability assessments.
What do you think contributed to your success?
My success is driven by my professionalism and not taking things for granted. I’ve learned to be inquisitive by employing professional skepticism throughout my career. This has allowed others to view me as a business partner focusing on improving organizational effectiveness, and not merely seeking issues for a report. This approach helped establish me as someone that you could call on to give an unbiased perspective with professional credibility.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
Knowing the impact that the MTA has on the New York downstate region and recognizing that I play a key role in combating fraud and waste within my organization. I also enjoy that I am a business partner who is sought after as a leader in risk and controls implementation. In my role I work with independent integrity monitors who conduct investigations and monitor services on the MTA’s mega-projects. When the work identifies fraud and abuse and we are able to implement recommendations that benefit the MTA and its constituents, it is extremely gratifying. On a personal level, it is rewarding for me when leaders within my organization seek my input to implement a new process or to review allegations of fraud and abuse. It means that they trust my judgement and see me as a business partner.
What are the best opportunities for someone entering into your career?
Someone entering into this field should take full advantage of professional organizations. These organizations provide networking opportunities with like-minded individuals who can provide mentoring opportunities to assist individuals along their career path. They can also provide a platform for developing the essential skills needed to succeed in the profession, expose you to potential employers in your field and they can enlighten you on different perspectives for being current and effective in the industry. I must say that had I not had these vehicles early on in my career, I would not know the sheer volume of opportunities available to me.
What do you wish you knew (but didn’t) when you first contemplated this career?
What I wish I knew, but didn’t, before I started my career was the importance of having a good network of people who know and support you, and can open many doors. Also, there is a fine line in influencing people so that they recognize your good work without being seen as a self-promoter. It’s an extremely challenging thing for me to speak about my achievements, even to this day. But I know that it is important to help people feel comfortable knowing that you are capable of performing the timely work with great results and that that you can fit in with the team and culture. People have to feel comfortable with you; otherwise, it becomes as chore on both sides. Similarly, I learned very early on that doing good work without others knowing will get you only so far. I have found that when you don’t speak of your triumphs, they go unnoticed. Having a personable disposition where people can relate to you, want to work with you or even like you can create circumstances in which they want to see you excel, which can open opportunities.
When you are not working, what types of things do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy spending time with my family when I am not working. I also enjoy spending my time as a Regional and National leader of the National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA). The organization’s motto is “Lifting As We Climb,” so I get a great deal of fulfillment in living this motto by helping the next generation of leaders to find their own path in their careers.
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