Going undercover, testifying in court, and catching culprits doesn’t necessarily sound like a CPA’s day job, but it is for Rachel Buse. Rachel is a CPA who is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF).
Valuation and Forensic Services Manager, ABV, CFF
Eide Bailly LLP
Sioux Falls, SD
Going undercover, testifying in court, and catching culprits doesn’t necessarily sound like a CPA’s day job, but it is for Rachel Buse. Rachel is a CPA who is Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF). Those 9 letters behind her name mean that she’s a licensed expert at searching through financial statements to see if someone’s been cooking the books.
After starting her public accounting career in audit, Rachel discovered that she loved the thrill of the chase. After working an embezzlement case, she took a position in the Business Valuation department the first chance she got. “Starting out in audit definitely gave me a lot of background in the business information, accounting concepts, and tax knowledge needed when performing business valuation or forensic services for business.”
Sporting solid audit and valuation experience, Rachel works on more types of cases than there are Law and Order spinoffs: from standard business valuations to marital dissolutions where she searches for what assets a crafty spouse may be hiding to internal control consulting where she goes undercover to see if an employee is pocketing cash. And because these situations are so varied, there’s no one way to solve cases.
And just like the movies, surprise endings are a strong possibility. “Along the way, you could find something that might actually hurt your client's case. Sometimes there is that moment where you realize you just found an embezzlement amount larger than what the client even thought it was. Or maybe you go back to them and you say, ‘Your employee didn't steal anything.’”
Supreme hobnobbing skills are essential for people like Rachel to keep business coming in. “Once you complete a case for an attorney, that revenue stream is gone, and while that attorney might refer additional work to you, you continually have to network and build your referral network with attorneys, CPAs, and other professionals who are going to refer valuation and forensic work.” To keep her case load regular, Rachel attends a lot of networking events and writes articles for local journals whenever she can.
Rachel’s not all work and no play though. This CPA crime fighter by day is a hockey mom by night. And since forensic and valuation services don’t require a busy season, Rachel is able to balance her case load and have plenty of time to spend with her family. “There have been times where have had to leave on like a Friday morning for a hockey tournament. I can work in the car or at the hotel. It's that kind of flexibility that allows me to be accessible at work and also be accessible to my husband and kids at home.”
Now don’t go running for your crime-fighter cape too soon. Rachel had cram a lot into her brain before joining the ranks of CPA/ABV/CFFs of the world. Join her and learn more about Forensic Accounting and the Certification in Financial Forensics here. And think carefully about your Hero name now; it’s hard to get any respect with a lame one.
6am: Morning Exercise
I’m definitely a workout nut! I like to go for a run every morning before work. It’s a great way for me to get ready for a busy day.
7am: Rallying the Troops
After my run, I get the kids up and ready for school and we have breakfast together.
8am: Day Planning
I like to plan my day when I get into the office. I look at my scheduled meetings, then decide when I will have time for my other tasks. After I’ve done that, I spend some time checking my email and voicemail.
9am: Client Meeting
This morning, I’m having a prep meeting about my court appearance later today. The attorney and I are taking one last look over the report I prepared for him and the report prepared by the opposition. By the end of the meeting, I’m fully prepared to take the stand.
10am: Research for Client
Over the next two hours, I’ll be pouring through documents to prepare a business valuation for another client. He provided us with the business’s financial statements and supporting documentation for the past 5 years, so we have a lot of information to sort through.
12pm: Networking Lunch
Today I’m going to a lunch gathering of the Sioux Falls Young Professionals Network. I try to network with professionals in my community as much as I can to learn what they do and help them understand how I could be useful to them.
2pm: Staff Meeting
As a manager, I need to make sure that my team is meeting all of our clients’ needs. We usually get together for an hour each week to make sure everyone is handling their cases and that things are running smoothly.
3pm: Testifying In Court
Testifying in court is always a fun experience. It’s not so bad being questioned by the lawyers on your side, but the opposing lawyers always make you think. You’ve got to be quick on your feet and you always have to make sure that you’re advocating for the numbers instead of a particular side.
Since I’ve been out and about all day, I take the end of the day to make sure I’ve covered everything that I need to do. I spend this time answering emails and any questions that my staff has before I head out for the day.
6pm: Hockey Game
I’m an avid hockey fan and especially love watching my two sons play their favorite sport. I love to spend my evening cheering them and their teams on to victory!