I had the good fortune to first meet Dr. Joseph T. Wells, CFE, CPA, the founder and Chairman of the ACFE, on March 25, 2004, the day before a team of professionals embarked on the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) project to develop an educational model for forensic accounting and fraud examination for the nation’s colleges and universities. He was the quintessential professional; a charismatic leader; a person passionate about anti-fraud practice, education and research; and an executive committed to completing work at the highest levels of quality. It was an experience I’ll never forget and for which I’m truly grateful.
As a starting point for the NIJ curriculum development, the project leaders attempted an Internet search of colleges and universities with programs in fraud examination, forensic accounting, white-collar crime, economic crime and other related fields. The search revealed a dearth of programs. Many colleges and universities offered a single course in fraud examination, but I could almost count on one hand the number of multi-course programs that were offered. Also, textbooks dedicated to the anti-fraud and forensic accounting profession were almost nonexistent.
Look how far we’ve come! In the spirit of the new year, this column celebrates just three of the advances in anti-fraud higher education: the NIJ’s model educational curriculum, ACFE resources for academics and budding fraud examiners, and current textbooks chock-full of anti-fraud principles and practices.
Anti-fraud educators, like practicing professionals, are dedicated to combating fraud. We can be proud of our accomplishments. But we’re just getting started.
Model Educational Curriculum
In December 2005, the results of the NIJ project were presented in draft form as “Education and Training in Fraud and Forensic Accounting: A Guide for Educational Institutions, Stakeholder Organizations, Faculty and Students.” This model educational curriculum provides a road map for institutions looking to develop single courses, higher-education programs and professional education and training in the anti-fraud and forensic accounting arena.
The NIJ released the formal document in 2007. It’s available free online at www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/217589.pdf.
MATERIALS AND EDUCATION FOR ALL
The ACFE has been visionary in its support of academics going back to the creation of ACFE student chapters and the ACFE Anti-Fraud Education Partnership (www.ACFE.com/community/higher-ed.asp), which provides professors with free course materials. The ACFE established the partnership to address the unprecedented need for fraud examination education at the university level.
After the ACFE approves professors’ applications, it supplies a free course syllabus, teaching aids, 11 ACFE videos and accompanying workbooks, and copies of ACFE reference materials for campus libraries.
Full-time, higher-education students can join the ACFE as Student Associate Members for $25 and receive an electronic version of the Fraud Examiners Manual and a one-year subscription to Fraud Magazine. Alternatively, graduating seniors in a bachelor’s program or students enrolled in a master’s program are eligible to purchase the ACFE Student Package ($350), which includes the CFE Exam Prep Course, and waived CFE Exam fee and first-year CFE membership dues after passing the CFE exam.