Edward Nagel is a forensic accountant, his company is responsible for investigating suspected fraud involving the employees of various businesses. Think of him as the “CSI CA”. How does that work exactly? Find out in today’s YEDaily…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
“CSI CA.” As a forensic accountant, its not unusual for me to receive a call from a company’s senior management, board of directors or legal counsel regarding a suspected fraud involving one of their employees. Later that same day (most likely in the middle of the night, when all employees have gone home) and with permission from the company, I will search employee offices for possible “clues.” With assistance from computer forensic experts, I also obtain forensic images of employees’ computers and other electronic devices. The objective is to obtain and secure evidence that confirms/dispels the allegations raised. I also deliver fraud awareness courses, both in-class and in webinar format, and provide anti-fraud consulting for clients looking to proactively mitigate the risk of fraud.
Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
A fraud investigation is like a giant puzzle. It comprises collecting various pieces that are seemingly related and putting them together to “tell the story.” Our firm’s tagline is “Uncovering the Truth” because that’s exactly what clients hire us to do. Our investigations are not based on assumptions but rather facts.
As a forensic accountant, I develop fraud theories based on the allegations raised and perform investigative procedures to determine whether or not the theories hold true.
After several years of working with large Big-4 accounting firms and smaller boutiques, I was ready to embark on my own journey by developing my own practice in the manner in which I thought it should run.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Getting to work with great clients who appreciate what you do for them. When an organization suspects it has been defrauded, they turn to me and my firm to take charge and help them discretely determine if they have a problem or not. I also provide recommendations to remediate any deficiencies identified in their internal controls, which may have contributed to the fraud.
While I hope for my clients’ sake that they will not be victimized again by fraud, I am committed to building long-term relationships with my clients.
Also, no two investigations are exactly alike. Fraud is only limited by the creativity of the fraudster. Therefore, you are constantly challenged by new schemes, techniques and methods used by the fraudsters to carry out their illicit acts. This is both a challenge and opportunity because it forces you to think outside of the box.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My plan is to grow both the “proactive” and “reactive” side of my forensic accounting practice. I am particularly committed to developing the “preventative” side, by delivering comprehensive fraud awareness training courses and thought leadership designed to help raise the level of fraud awareness, thereby reducing the incidence of fraud.
What does success look like to you?
Consistently exceeding client expectations.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Signing my first expert report under my own firm’s banner. That’s the moment I knew that I was exactly where I was meant to be.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Push yourself. Don’t be afraid to take a chance, regardless of how difficult or challenging things may seem. There’s nothing more gratifying than building something yourself and watching it succeed.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
In addition to supporting various charities, I am on the Board of the Canadian Technion Society (CTS), which supports the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. Based in Haifa, Israel, Technion is a leading global engineering and science university focused on technological innovation. Technion is responsible for developing many of the innovations that we rely upon in carrying out our day-to-day lives. In fact, over 50% of all the Israeli companies listed on the Nasdaq are founded by Technion graduates.
I recently co-chaired the CTS Generation Next Toronto launch event, held at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Describe your ideal retirement: how old will you be and how do you plan on spending your retirement years?
Being healthy and having an abundance of time to spend with family and friends. How old will I be? Who knows. I really enjoy my work and don’t have any plans to stop working for the foreseeable future!
What are you looking forward to most about retiring?
Without trying to sound redundant, spending lots of quality time with family and friends as well as travelling the world. Being a forensic accountant is by no means a 9-5 job, so “down” time is often a luxury. In the interest of not getting too bored, I will likely stay tapped into my profession in some capacity, either through training, board membership or some form of thought leadership.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone, hands down. I have been a strong proponent of Apple and outfitted my entire forensic accounting practice with Apple products. I believe Apple is innovative and leaders in their industry. They are the future, now.