Investing in forensic specialists is critical to combat white collar crime in India

Market volatility, increased pressure to meet revenue targets and growth can compel many executives to adopt unethical practices. With rising cases of fraud, bribery, corruption, cybercrime and other forms of white-collar crime, there has been a surge in anti-fraud professionals or forensic investigators, who can help companies in detection and deterrence of risks. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Western Region Chapter and EY Forensic collaborated last year to launch the ‘Forensic Trailblazer Award’ with the intend to honour and support this growing brigade of professionals.

After a multi-stage assessment by an independent jury panel, Divya Mohan (currently with SAP India) was adjudged the winner, for excellence in forensic investigations. As part of winning the title, Divya also won an all-expense paid trip to ACFE’s Fraud Conference in Singapore, that not only helped her to enhance her skill-sets to become a better forensic investigator but also network with other global professionals.

We caught up with Divya to discuss her journey after winning the award. Below are the excerpts:

1) There has been a notable rise in forensic professionals over the last few years. Tell us what makes this an exciting career option?

Divya: I believe that there is never a dull moment in the field of forensic investigations. Each case we come across is different from any other, and so is every step in the investigation process.  I think each case also provides immense learning and possibilities to improvise, which makes it very exciting.

2) What are some of the qualities that forensic professionals need to have, to excel in this field?

Divya: For starters, technical knowledge and training is imperative to be a part of the forensic space. Apart from that, investigators should also be ever questioning, almost sceptic, in their approach. They should question the what, why, how in any instance, and be able to identify potential gaps that can be may be misused by fraudsters. I also think that a willingness to learn is a pre-requisite that will keep you on your toes and at the same time, encourage individuals to strive become a better forensic investigator in the future.

3) How would you describe your experience in being part of the Forensic Trailblazer Award 2016?

Divya: The Forensic Trailblazer Award has been a huge confidence booster and also validated my decision to be in the field of fraud investigations. Winning this award is extra special as the exposure provided by this competition has been immense, that helped me meet colleagues and dignitaries from the industry.

4) How do you think winning the Forensic Trailblazer Award has impacted you as a professional?

Divya: Firstly, this reaffirms that I am on the right path. I also feel a sense of responsibility and part of the forensic community. I am now motivated to do much better and excel in this field.

5) Can you share your experience after attending ACFE’s Fraud Conference in Singapore?

Divya: The conference covered a wide variety of topics from cross-border investigations to behavioral analysis and interviewing skills. The session by Clare Rewcastle Brown from 1MDB fame was a befitting start to the two day conference, which highlighted both the scale and perils of potential corruption investigations. The conference also provided excellent networking opportunities. I am in touch with many attendees and they share their experiences and an insight into investigations in other geographies. Overall, the conference was an exceptional learning opportunity.

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