I'm a CFE
Alan Maran Goncalves, CFE, has a passion for travel and a free spirit. His independence and career focus took him from his home country of Brazil to the U.S. to continue his profession in business, including experience in accounting, finance, audit, compliance and fraud examinations. His interest in corporate compliance led Maran to his current role as senior manager - corporate compliance & SOX at Citrix Systems. Maran is the founder and president of the ACFE's Milwaukee Chapter. "I am certain that after becoming a CFE, people in my organization — especially the C-suite team — started to consider me a key leader for their compliance and fraud-related concerns."
I was born and raised in Curitiba — a city with a milder climate in southern Brazil. Like most children in Brazil, I played soccer in school and with my neighborhood friends.
As a child I wanted to be what kids often aspire to be — a fireman, race-car driver, etc. Forensic accounting and investigation certainly weren't in that list growing up! When I was a little older and searching for my “dream job,” I noticed that many executives traveled for work, which I thought was very exciting. Later, while working as an auditor, I crossed paths with a highly skilled corporate forensic investigator who encouraged my interests and curiosity in fraud. He helped me understand that there are careers in fraud examinations and the compliance side of law enforcement for someone with a business and corporate background. In fact, as a culturally aware and multilanguage professional, I could bring value to the forensics team.
I received my degree from Universidade Positivo — an engaging and innovative private university in Brazil. I met some of my best friends there. We were all young — exploring and discovering the world, dreaming about future careers and personal achievements. I was really committed to my classes and excited about the opportunities I was exposed to in the business world. I joined Ernst & Young as a career auditor and then transferred to the U.S. while my wife pursued her Ph.D.
I'd been with Ernst & Young for several years when I was instructed to call the forensics group to get involved in a potential fraud at one of our clients. A special team came in and worked on that project to investigate the concerns my team noted. That process made me curious about how the forensics team would operate — how would they find more information and make their conclusions? I began to do my own research about investigations and how I could get better when I stumbled upon the ACFE. I was already very intrigued by that work, so I decided to obtain the CFE credential to demonstrate my expertise as a fraud fighter. I became more passionate about the profession after I started leading forensic and fraud-related cases that entailed planning, execution and reporting to senior management.
I gained great experience in internal audit, compliance and business risk during the 15 years I worked as a manager for Ernst & Young, a global audit and forensics manager at Tomkins Industries and a regional Americas internal audit manager at Johnson Controls. I was exposed to a range of audit, accounting, finance and compliance positions, as well as many fraud examination cases throughout the world, including large kickback schemes that resulted in more than $1 million in losses. All that experience led to my move to Citrix as senior manager of corporate compliance & SOX. As the senior manager, I ensure that the board of directors, management and employees are in compliance with the rules and regulations of regulatory agencies; that company policies and procedures are being followed; and, that behavior in the organization meets the company's standards of conduct. I frequently assess the challenging risks that most companies deal with, such as quickly changing regulations worldwide.
My goal is to ensure that Citrix has a structure to prevent unlawful or improper conduct while cultivating effective cultures that promote integrity and respect for the law. This can be achieved through a good compliance program that extends throughout the business and that reflects regulators’ expectations. My key function is to recognize and support company executives so they'll understand evolving compliance risks.
I founded the ACFE's Milwaukee Chapter in 2011. As one of the more active leaders in this process, it was a natural move to become the president. Since then, the chapter has become very dynamic, with monthly sponsored CPE credit opportunities and a good presence in our local community of fraud fighters.
After focusing many years exclusively to my career development, I decided it was time to pursue my Masters of Business Administration at Washington State University. This recognized program is a solid step towards my accounting, finance and compliance career because I am exposed to innovative tools, problem-solving techniques and new ways to leading with a global perspective.
I'm proud that I came to the U.S., have traveled worldwide as a CFE and have achieved so much both personally and professionally. I believe that “everything happens for a reason” and that you learn from the lessons you encounter in life, you improve and you move on.
Emily Primeaux is assistant editor of Fraud Magazine.
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