My Take

Heed the call to educate the next generation

The recipient of the 2020 Educator of the Year Award, who owned a CPA firm for decades, had a lifelong desire to teach students forensic accounting and fraud examination at a university. In 2015, he got his chance. Now, he’s challenging ACFE members to do the same.

By Lawrence J. Hoffman, CFE, CPA/CFF

In 1988, my father, who was the inspector general for the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at the time, called me and told me about a new organization, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, that was founded by a former FBI agent, Joseph T. Wells. I’d followed in my father’s footsteps in becoming a Certified Public Accountant, and I owned a CPA firm then. I had spent five years with a Big 8 (now Big 4) accounting firm prior to forming my own firm. So, once again, I followed in my father’s footsteps and joined the ACFE, and I’ve been an active member since. This led to developing a successful 30-plus year career specializing and practicing in forensic accounting and fraud examination.

Because I was an early adopter in the field, I’ve been able to practice in all the disciplines of forensic accounting and fraud examination, including investigating high-profile fraud cases, serving as an expert witness in commercial litigation and matrimonial disputes, conducting business valuations for closely held businesses and managing bankruptcy cases for bankruptcy trustees. Fast forward to 2020, and the ACFE selects me as its Educator of the Year.

After a long career, you might ask, why aren’t you retired, laying on a beach and playing golf? Why are you teaching this stuff at a university? Good question!

Undergraduate and graduate students are rushing to join higher-ed forensic accounting, which is the fastest-growing area of the accounting profession.

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