Event: Special Interest Group Panel

Date: March 7, 2018


Interest Group VPs:

  • Ka Lok (Lois) Chow – ACFE VP
  • Elvin Paik – IIA VP
  • Sunny Sharma – IMA VP
  • Katherine Diep – ISACA VP

Panelists:

  • Representing ACFE - OC Chapter:
    • Kim Chatani, CPA, CFE, CISA, FCPA, CGMA, CFSA
    • Gabriela Colden, MBA, CFE
  • Representing IIA - OC Chapter:
    • Raj Sawhney, Director of IT Audit at Focal Point, MS, MBA
  • Representing IMA - OC Chapter:
    • Clyde W. Sleigh II, MBA, CPA, CMI, CMA
  • Representing ISACA - OC Chapter:
    • Chris Thompson, Risk Assurance Director at PwC, CISA, CIA

Kim Chatani:

  • Vice President of ACFE
  • Was previously an audit partner at Arthur Anderson in Chicago
    • He left before the firm went under
  • Was also a consultant at KPMG
  • Currently he serves as:
    • Audit committee chair of a bank
    • Teaches at UCI
  • Says students interested in joining forensic accounting should actually join public accounting first to get exposure to clients, companies, and see how they operate
    • Accounts like receivables, inventory, and sales are more common to have fraud take place
      • These accounts directly affect the bottom line of the company
    • Getting exposure to companies at a CPA firm will help give people experience and interest in forensic accounting
  • Cyber security is one of the biggest trends, and threats, in accounting
    • This threatens actual people and clients
    • Hacks have the potential to wreak havoc on financial markets and individual companies
    • Cyber is just another form of fraud
  • Cloud is another trend that people need to focus on
    • This is another potential way for fraud to occur and is a giant threat
  • Advice to students:
    • "You need to network even when you don't think you need to network."
    • "Don't burn bridges."

Gabriela Colden:

  • President of ACFE
  • Founder of the Arch 360 group
    • A consulting firm focusing on the financial industry
    • Was previously a partner at a consulting firm in ChicagoStarted college as a Financial Engineering major in Europe, but when she moved to the United States she pursued a MBA in Finance
  • Joined a committee on foreign relations, and this is where she met professionals at a consulting firm where she ended up working at
    • She was exposed fraud examining here and was inspired to pursue her career as a fraud examiner
  • After moving to California, she decided to find a consulting firm four years ago using her expertise in fraud, finance, and business
  • Advises students to:
    • Ask yourselves if this job is really what you want to do
      • "Your choosing not only a job, but a career" - Gabriela

Raj Sawhney:

  • Director of IT Audit at Focal Point
    • Previously worked at Deloitte and KPMG consulting
    • A lot of the work he does is focused on the finance and operations side of businesses as
      • "This line of business gives you the best of both worlds, because I'm exposed to the IT side and operations side of a business" - Raj
  • Started at Edison working consulting, then moved to Deloitte
    • He wanted to get as much experience as he could before moving from a private company to a public firm
    • "The experience you get at the big four really stays with you." - Raj
    • Now he has his own consulting practice where he consults with clients he used to work with at public accounting firms, but works for a private company
  • Recommends taking basic courses about how IT security works (ERM), or how applications are developed, will give students a huge leg up
    • Technology is becoming more important in day to day lives of people in the accounting industry
    • CASP - Security engineer certification that gives you experience with firewall building
  • $6.76 Billion associated to IT fraud last year
    • "That number will probably grow this year." - Raj
    • Because everything is done online, and things are moved to the cloud, individuals are no longer restricted by boarders to commit fraud, only experience
      • If the criminals are more experienced then the cybersecurity team at a company, there is a huge risk of the company being threatened
  • Advice to students:
    • Add value
      • Its different depending on which company/department
    • Know the politics of the organization
      • If you can't gather people to support you, then you won't make it far in the organization

Clyde Sleigh:

  • CSUF Alumni (Class of 83)
    • Pursued an MBA at CSUF too (Class of 89)
  • Previously worked at
    • Arthur Anderson
    • PwC
  • Was an advisor to the California BOE after working at PwC
  • The target group for the IMA is for CFOs, Controllers, and cost accountants were in the same range of professionals he wanted to network and work with
    • This is why he pursued and got involved with IMA
      • Also, he had a very good cost accounting professor at CSUF who inspired him to get more involved in IMA
  • IBM and Maersk is developing a third company which is creating new ways to monitor how to ship products across the world
  • Recommends students who have a major or minor in marketing and graphic design to pursue a career in the accounting industry because they're actually in high demand
  • Smart Contracts
  • Advice to students:
    • Make time for yourself
    • Don't neglect your family or friends
    • Be involved professionally/privately with other groups like a charity or a church

Chris Thompson:

  • Previously worked at Arthur Anderson
  • UCR Alumni
  • Worked as a mortgage originator before joining PwC
  • Works as Risk Assurance Director at PwC focusing on IT Audit
  • Sees many clients have ERM tools in place already, but only the Board knows about it
    • Management is unaware of ERM tools or how its used and implemented
      • Therefore, company operation's are not monitored properly
  • As technology, like AI, get more developed they will be more ingrained into public accounting
    • AI can never replace people completely because they lack human judgement, and there will always be a need of human contact within the industry
    • "You still need people how know when and how to apply rules, and that's when you need people with accounting expertise." - Chris


Advises students to ask themselves the following five questions:

  • "Learn what subjects matter to you"
  • "Learn what the work is and if its interesting to you"
  • "Know what you're actually doing at your job"
  • "Assess the people you'll be working with"
  • "Where is the organization going"