FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2009
Athens, W.Va. – For the first time, a fraud examination course was offered to students majoring in business at Concord University. Assistant Professor of Accounting Tom Shelton, who taught the class this past fall along with accounting courses, says interest was created for many students who read about fraud in their auditing textbook.
“A lot of students were interested in it and they covered this area in one chapter in auditing,” Shelton said. “Even in this course, which is introductory, there are chapters in this book that we could make into an entire course. It’s a big area.”
As an elective for business majors, the pre-requisite is Principles of Accounting. Although a background in accounting is needed, this is much more than an accounting class, Shelton says.
“A lot of students think it’s another accounting class, but it’s so much more than that,” Shelton said. “Accounting is a big part, but you also have areas such as criminology, law, ethics and behavioral science. “
The class focused on areas such as bankruptcy, divorce, tax fraud, behavioral science and interviewing techniques.
“We used a few DVDs in class that showed interviews with people who have committed fraud,” Shelton said. “This is a really fun class. We not only focus on the finances of the situation but we also focus on why it happens and ways to prevent it.”
Shelton said this area also differs from the job of an auditor.
“In financial auditing, you go into a business to see if the numbers are presented fairly,” he explained. “In a fraud audit, you go in knowing something is wrong. You are hired to look for fraud.”
According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, $652 billion is lost annually to fraud. There are 17,000 CFEs fighting fraud worldwide. The median loss in organizations with fewer than 100 employees is approximately $190,000 per incident. Government organizations and retail organizations ranked the lowest in median fraud losses while construction and manufacturing ranked the highest.
“I’ve been a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) for three years, and during these years, I’ve been exposed to so many different areas of accounting—different than what you would normally think of as an accountant,” he said. “It’s good for students, and there is a high demand in this field. Fraud is so prevalent and it’s fun to catch.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: Andrea Meador, a sophomore majoring in public relations wrote this news release. Her hometown is Ghent.