Using 'white papers' to recruit future fraud fighters

By Shondra Johnson, CFE, CPA; George R. Young, Ph.D., CPA, Educator Associate

shondra-johnson-80x80    george-young-80x70   Fraud EDge 


Academics have many ways to recruit college graduates to the fraud-fighting field, but the authors propose an untried method that students could consider so old-fashioned, it's radical: the white paper. -ed.

JulyAug-white-paperAccording to the November/December 2010 Fraud EDge column, "Defining 'Global' for Educators: Preparing Students for a Global Future," incidents of international fraud are expected to become more visible and pervasive because of worldwide population and economic growth. Investigating alleged misconduct is now more important than ever, and so the demand for fraud fighters is increasing. 

How can we attract students to enter the field of fraud examination? Those of you who teach fraud examination courses probably would readily agree that once students hear about the course you're teaching, they become keenly interested in enrolling. But what about students who are unaware of the opportunities to take fraud examination courses? How do we reach these potential students?

Of course, simple word of mouth works well. Professors can mention the course in other classes they teach or make presentations to such student groups as Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting and finance honorary organization, as well as Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminology honorary organization. Students in these groups usually are in their last two years of college. And students who are enrolled in or who have taken these classes can spread the word about the fascinating and enjoyable study of fraud examination.

But what about those who haven't declared a major or who are enrolled in community colleges where they might not have any exposure to fraud examination education?

In this column, we propose a new approach to informing potential students of these opportunities — the issuance of "white papers." 


Professional accounting organizations, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), have used white papers — authoritative reports that inform readers so that they can make decisions about some aspect of their professional lives — for years. For example, the AICPA recently issued a white paper, "Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: A Primer for CPAs," to help its members understand the possible implications of the Dodd-Frank Act for them and their clients. (Anecdotal evidence suggests that white papers may be effective, although we're not aware of any studies indicating this.) 

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