Thomas Boegballe, CFE, a Liverpool F.C. fan, always wanted to be a professional soccer player growing up. But as he grew older, and as he says, "more realistic," he realized he wanted to work with people and numbers. "I've always enjoyed meeting employees at all levels of the organization, analyzing data and information, and identifying patterns," says Boegballe. He's explored these interests in multiple roles at KPMG, Novo Nordisk, Carlsberg Breweries and PwC. Boegballe now works as the head of fraud and forensics at Novozymes and credits his achievements to the fantastic companies he's had the opportunity to work for.
I was born and raised in a little beach town called Næsbystrand in Denmark approximately 60 miles outside of Copenhagen. I grew up on the beach, so it was natural for me to enjoy waterskiing, fishing and sailing. I also grew up playing soccer, but I eventually changed my focus to handball — I played at a fairly high level until around the age of 20.
After high school I was hired by KPMG in Copenhagen as an auditor trainee, which was a full-time position. Because I was completely new to the corporate world, I really enjoyed the practical experience I received and the numerous clients we served. I also studied twice a week at Copenhagen Business School in the evenings for four years to receive my Bachelor in Auditing and Accounting.
I've made connections and friendships with knowledgeable peers all over the world. I've attended the ACFE Global Fraud Conference the past two years and it's been great training and connecting with my peers."
I became passionate about fighting fraud when I worked my first real fraud case at Novo Nordisk. An employee had committed fraud against the company, and wouldn't acknowledge it or see it as a criminal act. This was incompatible with my personal ethics and morals. Subsequently, it became clear to me that I had a passion for increasing awareness about fraud and fighting against it, as well as improving control environments and working analytically to identify potential fraud cases.
At Novozymes I manage the forensic office. I'm responsible for processes that concern governance, fraud risk assessment, prevention and detection, investigations and monitoring. Some of these processes include designing investigative protocols that cover all phases of an investigation; creating fraud risk assessments, including assessing existing controls and procedures, and designing anti-fraud controls; establishing and developing data analytics concepts and strategies; driving all investigations; and preparing fraud reports for relevant stakeholders.
The most important skill I've learned during my fraud-fighting career is interviewing, especially when asking direct or confrontational questions, which is something that doesn't come naturally to me. It's also important to acknowledge and realize that I'm not done learning. I have to work hard to further develop my skills.
A valuable lesson I've learned has been the ability to remain objective during an investigation and to constantly look for facts from all possible angles. That kind of persistence has provided significant results. More personally, I've learned a lot about myself and my own values and ethics, and I often reflect on which values I'm helping to pass on to my children.
I decided to pursue the CFE credential to ensure that my level of knowledge within the field was up to date and meeting standards, and to demonstrate to my internal stakeholders that fraud is my expertise. The fraud-fighting community in Denmark isn't large or formalized, so when I began looking for a global network of peers with which I could obtain and share knowledge, I quickly realized that the ACFE is a well-recognized organization that provides everything you need.
Being a member of the ACFE has opened up a whole new world of fellow fraud fighters. I've made connections and friendships with knowledgeable peers all over the world. I've attended the ACFE Global Fraud Conference the past two years and it's been great training and connecting with my peers. I'm looking forward to attending next year in Las Vegas.
Don't say no to a task just because you haven't tried it before. The best learning experiences I've had were when I volunteered for a task, project or investigation that was a "little over my head." In my experience, you learn to swim when you get thrown into deep water.
My No. 1 achievement in life is definitely the great family my wife and I have created. I have two active kids and I spend a lot of time participating in their hobbies, like my daughter's hip-hop dance and gymnastics lessons and my son's soccer practices.
Emily Primeaux is assistant editor of Fraud Magazine. Her email address is: eprimeaux@ACFE.com.