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David P. Mills, CFE, PCI
Corporate Investigations, Office of Internal Governance, Boeing
For David P. Mills, CFE, PCI, Senior Manager of Corporate Investigations for the Office of Internal Governance at Boeing, the thrill of the chase is just as exciting now as it was 15 years ago when he first began investigating fraud. But Mills' experience isn't just in the numbers. Through his CFE certification, he has gained respect, ethics and compliance credibility, and a competitive edge in the elusive, yet constantly evolving, fraud-detection industry.
What made you decide to become a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and how has earning the CFE credential benefitted you in your career?
It is a recognized professional certification that is gaining acceptance across a variety of investigative disciplines. I do not believe it is exclusively linked to financial crimes in the manner it used to be. It has added a great deal of credibility to the roles of me and my staff. I believe it has had a direct influence on my performance reviews and promotional considerations.
What do you enjoy most about your career as a CFE?
After so many years, I still enjoy identifying persons who are taking advantage of the rest of us and our employers. Investigating fraud is always a challenge. Rarely do we find the proverbial "smoking gun." While we can solicit many outstanding admissions, a full confession is just rare. So, when a challenging case comes together, it is still highly rewarding.
An added benefit to having the CFE credential is the immediate respect that comes with it. So many people within the corporate world are aware of the CFE's role that it often opens doors that might take a great deal of work for others to open. Now that I am in a leadership role, I enjoy watching the members of my team reach the same milestones I have during my career. That, in itself, provides a sense of accomplishment.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for CFEs today?
In my world, the largest hurdle is providing a value proposition. It is an ongoing struggle to remind leaders of the importance of our roles, and to remind them what activity we've likely prevented that we'll never know about. Having personally come from a law enforcement background where I had greater ability to gather evidence and information, it is also an ongoing challenge to find new and innovative ways to bring an investigation to a successful close.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow a similar career path as you?
Education and experience – make every effort to gather as much education as possible, and put that education to use in the field. Experience itself is an extremely important part of any investigator's education and cannot be overlooked.
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