Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

CPAs Get New Weapons in the War on Fraud. (Feature)

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

CPAs Get New Weapons in the War on Fraud. (Feature)

Article excerpt

Fraud might not be the oldest profession. But it comes close, according to Joseph T. Wells, CPA, CFE, founder and chairman of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in Austin, Texas.

"What happened here with Enron and the scandals of the past 18 months was a long time in coming," said Wells, who traces business infamy far into history. And it represents a human frailty far beyond the purview of mere accountants. "The CPA is tasked with trying to solve a serious sociological problem--fraud--which goes far beyond anything a CPA touches or can control," Wells added.

Nevertheless, CPAs have a central role in assuring the integrity of the free-enterprise system. So, in a bid to rebuild investor faith in corporate reporting, the ACFE and the AICPA have teamed up to develop new educational initiatives for CPAs in particular and the world at large.

The first fruits of the program with the ACFE are coming in the form of two interactive training CDs--the first, a free one-hour course for anyone and everyone in corporate governance; and the other, a more rigorous eight-hour interactive program aimed at CPAs in practice and industry.

Both Wells and AICPA president Barry C. Melancon said working CPAs seem woefully unaware of the fraudsters' bag of tricks. "Out of 350,000 CPAs," said Melancon, "at least 90 percent have never received any substantive education about the intricacies of fraud. …

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