On Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. the Niagara chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) held its fall semester dinner meeting at Niagara University in Bisgrove Hall.
IMA’s mission is to provide a forum for research, practice development, education, knowledge sharing, and the advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance. This well-attended meeting was also sponsored by Beta Alpha Psi, the honor society for accounting, finance and information system students, and was open to BAP and IMA members as well as interested students. The speaker for the event, Amber D. Scott, a financial crimes expert, discussed financial crimes and forensic accounting in regard to the roles that accountants play in preventing, detecting, and prosecuting financial crimes.
Scott has broad-based financial compliance experience that includes insurance, mutual funds and banking. In addition to being a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS), Scott is also a Certified Privacy Professional (CIPP). She also holds a mutual fund sales designation from the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) and a first level Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI).
Scott is passionate about ethical and legal compliance. Her fascination with understanding the risks and devising actionable solutions has led her to work in the financial services industry as well as with Canadian accounting and consulting firms. In 2013, she founded Outlier Solutions Inc. to provide anti-money laundering (AML) solutions to Canadian reporting entities. She created Outlier to publish solutions for small to mid-sized reporting entities that are available online and on demand.
In her presentation, Scott discussed the various aspects to financial crimes, including the types of people involved, types of schemes, and how one should protect themselves in case of fraud discovery/suspicions. She explained that in order to launder money, there needs to be a crime that generates profits and though some of these are relatively straightforward, many are not. Though we have a mental image of who someone committing fraud may be, the people that commit financial crimes are often the “last people on earth” that you would think of as criminals; for example, they are commonly seniors! Though TV and movies generally paint a different picture, the investigation and prosecution of financial crime takes years and much luck, it isn’t an overnight process. In regards to protecting yourself, Amber encourages you to know your clients, and, if in doubt, ask questions. If that doesn’t clear it up, document and report (you’re protected if you file a report in good faith), and do not go for the assist if you think it’s a crime. Overall, it was a very interesting and informative presentation.
Sarah Doucette, president of Beta Alpha Psi, commented, “I thought the speaker, Amber Scott, was a great speaker that kept students engaged. Her presentation really enhanced what I am learning in my Organized Crime and Fraud investigation and Economic Crime courses. It is interesting to hear about what authorities look for or how they find the “bad guys,” but it is even better to hear it from a real life perspective. It was great that she gave advice to the students by telling us what we should do if we ever are in a situation where we think something is wrong. The IMA has done a great job in bringing in speakers that students can learn from and be more informed.”
The IMA is a resourceful link for accounting students, and Niagara University looks forward to many more collaborative events.
Professor Chris Aquino said, “The event was a great success in terms of both participation and content. Our students represented Niagara well and learned a bit about forensic accounting and financial crimes. Niagara’s association with the Niagara Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants has a rich history and continues to be of great benefit to both groups. Their continued support of our students is greatly appreciated.”