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Career Center: Just Starting Out
Seham S. Carson
Manager, Internal Controls & Accounting Policies
Bristow Group Inc.
Fraudsters aren’t the only people who sit across from fraud examiners at the interview table. Getting information from process owners within a company to aid in creating effective internal controls and policies can prove just as challenging. “Anyone in our field or a related occupation knows how difficult it is to get information needed to make assessments or improvements,” said Seham S. Carson, Manager of Internal Controls & Accounting Policies at Bristow Group Inc. “The CFE Exam Review Course covered a lot of interviewing techniques and other concepts that will definitely be helpful in overcoming this.”
What are you responsible for as the manager of Internal Controls & Accounting Policies?
I am responsible for maintaining the overall internal controls framework for Bristow Group for material processes, including all related documentation. My main responsibility is to ensure Internal Audit and External Audit have all the information they need related to the company processes in order to successfully complete their audits. Once audits are complete and exceptions are reported I work with management to determine impact and ensure remediation. Additionally, I work on other projects related to our ERP implementation, IFRS and maintain our U.S. GAAP policies.
What made you decide to pursue the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential?
Part of maintaining our internal controls framework is being aware of how fraud could penetrate the organization when creating/updating our controls. I have had some exposure to fraud-related reviews, however I am not an expert. When my manager told me I needed to be a fraud expert I immediately thought of the ACFE and its certification. It is well known in our industry and I knew it would give me the tools I needed to ensure my development needs were met.
How do you think earning the CFE credential will benefit you in your role?
It will give me a unique perspective when it comes to controls and policies. Not all accounting/finance personnel have had fraud training or credentials. It will help ensure that when our internal controls framework is updated, the designed controls will deter fraud as intended.
What role does fraud prevention and detection play in developing internal controls and policies?
Ways to prevent and detect fraud are always part of any creation of internal controls or accounting policies. We want to consistently be efficient and be in compliance, but ensuring there is no room for fraud is always something we keep in mind when developing or updating controls and policies.
What trends are you currently seeing in controls? Do you see any trends specific to your region?
Controls guidance may change from year to year depending on changes in the industry, but the approach is one thing that does stay constant. Fraud deterrence is something that I can always remember being a key element of any controls, compliance, audit group or project I have been a part of.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow a similar career path as you?
When looking for training or developing your teams, have an open mind about different types of certifications and trainings available. The more well-rounded we are the more marketable we become, and the more value we can add to any organization we are a part of.
What do you consider your greatest career achievement?
This would have to be traveling to more than 20 countries. Starting my career in internal audit for a global energy services company allowed me to see the world. Being able to work effectively in so many countries with language barriers and cultural differences is always something that I’ve been proud of.
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