Fraud EDge: A forum for fraud-fighting faculty in higher ed
I have had the good fortune to lead the ACFE's Higher Education Advisory Committee (HEAC) for the last two years. The ACFE's commitment to fraud examination education is tops in the world. The HEAC's charter describes our mission and objectives:
The purpose of the Higher Education (Advisory) Committee is to provide input and guidance to the Board of Regents of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners ("ACFE") in order to help the ACFE develop and promote anti-fraud education in college and university disciplines such as accounting, management, business and criminal justice. The committee will serve as a liaison between the association, practitioners and educational institutions.
One of the tasks of the HEAC chair is to pen this column. For me, this has been both a pleasure and a challenge. My main purpose was to highlight the interactions between practice and education. I highlighted exceptional activities at numerous institutions of higher education, and I co-authored columns with professionals from the academic and/or practice communities. We've examined challenges and opportunities in these themes:
- Best practices for incorporating
practitioners in classrooms.
- Considerations for those hoping to start new programs and courses, including opportunities in the global and digital arenas.
- Creative, experiential activities, such as moot courts, services learning and ACFE student chapters at which students work hand-in-hand with practicing professionals and develop real-world skills.
- The inventory of skills that entry-level fraud fighters have when they emerge from the more than 55 U.S. anti-fraud programs.
As the HEAC chair, I have one last topic for those of you in practice: Please consider hiring our students!
The president of my university once defined academic quality associated with instruction to be directly linked to student placement in the work force. In short, quality instructional programs are most successful when they assist students to find post-graduation employment.
Therefore, in 2003, a co-researcher and I, along with 44 subject matter experts, embarked on a project to develop a curriculum for anti-fraud and forensic accounting higher education on behalf of the National Institute of Justice (U.S. DOJ). At that point, very few professional entities hired entry-level graduates directly into their practices. Most of their new hires were individuals who had digital skills and several years of practical experience in accounting and internal and external auditing.
In 2003, we faced a "which comes first: the chicken or the egg?" challenge. Back then, only a handful of anti-fraud academic programs existed, so practitioners had few entry-level graduates to hire. Therefore, schools could only justify introductory survey courses. In the last eight to 10 years, numerous academic institutions took the risk and started rigorous academic fraud examination and forensic accounting programs. (See "In Search of Higher Education," the September/October 2011 Fraud EDge.)
Colleges and universities now offer more than 55 academic programs in the U.S. and many more if we include international offerings. (To date, no
one has surveyed international anti-fraud/fraud examination higher-
Graduates are now beginning to fill those entry-level positions. As shown in the March/April 2012 Fraud EDge, these graduates have the KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) to make — with proper supervision — immediate, productive impacts on professional engagements.
In the following paragraphs, I describe the ACFE's support for helping entry-level graduates (and experienced professionals) locate jobs and, in concert with practitioners, help them discover exceptional talent for their organizations.
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