Tag Archives: UT

Can you Identify a Fraudster?

Currently I am taking Professor Bradshaw‘s Fraud Examination class as an accounting elective. In the course we learned about the typical white-collar criminal and I believe most of us were surprised by the statistics. (I know I was!)

Maybe I have watched too many episodes of Law and Order: SVU, but I pride myself in being able to read others and anticipate who is the “bad guy” in a movie or TV show before it is revealed to the audience. Being able to read people is a valuable skill to have and, unfortunately, a necessary one because professionals in the workplace may not always be as honest as we hope they will be. In this respect, we cannot let stereotypes bias the way we view our colleagues and others in the professional environment.

Before discussing who is most likely to be a corporate fraudster, Professor Bradshaw prompted the class to describe the quintessential fraudster. In our minds, it would typically be the sinister looking professional who is either A) quiet and viewed to be anti-social or B) really aggressive. It is easy to convince yourself that the corporate “bad guys” are going to resemble the ones that you see in Hollywood dramas. However, statistically, the typical fraudster is not who you would expect.

Here are the characteristics of a typical corporate fraudster:

  • Male, aged 35+
  • Strong accounting/finance background and above average education
  • In a position of trust
  • Stable family/personal situation
  • Good psychological health
  • No criminal record

These characteristics, as Professor Bradshaw humorously pointed out, are more believable to be descriptive of the average McCombs professor, not a white collar criminal.

I would highly recommend Professor Bradshaw’s class if you are looking for an accounting elective to take! And remember to be wary in the workplace- the fraudster may not be who you most expect!

“It’s never the person you most suspect. It’s also never the person you least suspect, since anyone with half a brain would suspect them the most. Therefore I know the killer to be Phyllis, AKA Beatrix Bourbon, the person I most medium suspect.”
                                           –Dwight (during a Murder Mystery on The Office)

Lessons We Can Learn from College Football

I’m sure it is no surprise that Longhorn football is an inherent part of the culture and collegiate experience at the University of Texas at Austin. I personally have been raised to understand and love the game, but I know not everybody has the same passion for the game that I do. I believe that football is so popular because it can be so much more than a game and I have learned a few key lessons about life and management from being a football fan.

Lesson 1 – You can’t control everything –as frustrating as it is, you just can’t. This ability to accept a lack of control is a good lesson for life, because as much as we try to, the future is inherently uncertain. Events will occur no one could have predicted, and it good to be aware of what you can control and what you can’t.

Lesson 2 – Odds are that there are people more skilled for a particular task than you are –no matter how frustrated I get, and think I could get the get the job done, it’s always wise to remember that I may not be the most skilled. I also have to remind myself that my Longhorn team is only human, and mistakes will therefore be part of each and every game, and I shouldn’t be upset when they happen. Each player  had to have been very talented in order to make the team, and it’s important to rely on them and their skill sets and trust in their ability to do their job.

Lesson 3 – Success takes time –when a college football team wins a national championship, it’s easy to overlook the 3-4 years of building preparation and effort on the team’s part. National champions aren’t born overnight, success takes time.

Lesson 4 – Practice and preparation are key – I think two quotes can sum up this lesson pretty handily. The first is by Sun Tzu from the Art of War, “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” The second is by our own beloved former football coach Darrell K. Royal, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

Lesson 5 – Don’t let the odds get you down –my high school cross country coach always had this little gem of wisdom: “there’s a reason they don’t play sports on paper.” Upsets and unpredictable outcomes are an inherent part of college football and life. Just because success may appear unlikely, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Lesson 6 – Adjustments mid-game can make all the difference –many football games are won or lost during halftime based on the coach’s ability to make adjustments to his strategy based on how the opponent is playing. There seems to be a strong correlation between changes made at halftime and the outcome of the game. Play the game and make the adjusts needed  along the way.

Congratulations to our Longhorns and their victory in the Valero Alamo Bowl!