The Dear Accountant podcast is the ultimate mentorship tool: advice, stories, and career introspections from executives, leaders, and idea makers in the accounting industry. In this episode, Diana Henriques talks about many thought provoking topics from the Madoff scandal. You may know her from her NYT articles, NYT best selling books, or the book/movie “The Wizard of Lies”, starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. As accountants, we often get distracted by the busy work and numbers, and we tend to forget that the nature of our work requires a high level of ethics, and our ultimate mission is to protect the public interest. The accounting profession has evolved for decades, and we should continue to strive for accountability, ethical decision making and behaviour in business overall, by setting an ethical tone starting at the top. Our work and our integrity matters.
1. TRUST BUT VERIFY
Diana explains that although humans are hardwired to trust others, we need to make sure that our intuitions don’t lead us into instances of fraud. Financial crimes are not bloodless; they often steal hopes and dreams through money. Being smart with your money is an important way to build barriers of protection, and if you see something, say something.
2. YOUR WILLINGNESS TO BLOW THE WHISTLE IS THE LAST LINE OF DEFENSE AS AN ACCOUNTANT
Diana explains in detail that the power of accountants are quite large in spotting, reporting, and alleviating crime and its negative effects. She advocates that individuals should consciously develop and cultivate a cadre of support in their office so that they can lean on this support group if they identify fraud. In the Madoff case, Diana’s speciality, the absence of responsible and respected whistleblowers made all of the difference; she now hopes that young accountants and compliance professionals choose to be a part of the solution to this sort of crime.
3. EDUCATING YOURSELF ABOUT THE FRAUDS OF THE PAST IS ONE WAY TO CATCH THE FRAUDS OF THE FUTURE
Reading up on the frauds of the past, the minutes of the last meeting, or the whistleblowers that exposed this decade’s fraud can be incredibly illuminating for a young accountant delving into the accounting industry. Training your eye to watch out for oddities such as those that you read about in the past can help ensure that you are more likely to catch the frauds at play today and in the future.
🎧 To learn more about identifying fraud, the history of fraud, or to find yourself a mentor in Cece, head to the Dear Accountant Podcast here.
🎙 “Dear Accountant” podcast is a uniquely insightful and entertaining podcast for aspiring young business professionals. Each episode is packed with actionable advice to help young finance professionals get ready for whatever challenge they may face next. Aside from all of the many cool things in accounting (technical topics and trends), we bring in industry experts and influential leaders to share their journey, insights and perspectives. We will also cover topics that were not taught in school - life essential skills such as personal finance, emotional intelligence, mentorship, networking, body language and human behaviors, and so much more!
💬 About our guest, Diana B. Henriques: Diana B. Henriques, an award-winning financial journalist, is the author of A First-Class Catastrophe: The Road to Black Monday, the Worst Day in Wall Street History, released in September 2017. She is also the author of The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust, a New York Times bestseller, and three other books on business history.
📖 Get the amazing advices from the 20 mentors in the “Dear Accountant” Book: The book offers a unique immersion into the lives and careers of 20 inspiring leaders in finance from different disciplines - their backstories, pivotal moments, career trajectories, and hiccups along the way.
🎧 Listen to Cece’s interviews about her passion and mission in writing this book and paying it forward to help young professionals to find meaning and fulfillment in their life and career: